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Print Management

Working with the right printer – Litho vs Digital

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One of the biggest challenges with turning your designs into reality is ensuring that all the hard work put in to a design turns out right in its printed form. Get your print management right and the rest should fall into place.

Print management

Choosing the right printer to work with can really help this but before you step out into the unknown it’s worth asking yourself some key questions:

How will your print be used?

  • What quantity do you need to order?
  • How many colours are needed to achieve the right result?
  • Is this just a promotion or does the material need to last for a set period of time?
  • What print finish would you like?
  • Are you looking for any special effects?
  • What is your budget?

All of the above questions should help identify what sort of print is going to help you achieve a successful finish.

Litho print vs Digital print

There are other print processes such as photogravure, letterpress and screen printing; but by far the most popular print process for everyday uses are Lithographic and digital print.

So, if you’re not using a print management company, how do you choose which sort of printer will suit your job?

Benefits of Litho print

  • High quality and crisp finish
  • Longer run lengths from 500 to 1,000s copies
  • Suitable for many different materials
  • Great for grouping similar jobs onto the same sheet
  • Possible to produce brand-specific Pantone colours
  • Metallic inks

Benefits of Digital print

  • Shorter run lengths from 1 to 500 copies (this may vary)
  • Quick turnaround
  • Less set up costs are printing plates not required
  • Variable data such as personalised printing
  • The proof you approve is how it will be printed
  • CMYK (Full colour) print usually comes as standard

There are of course limitations of both processes, but the above should help direct you to choosing the right one from the start of the project.

Once you have worked out which print process you are going to be using, you should be in a better place to set up the design in the correct way.

Warning!

Some print suppliers offer a cheaper price for a reason… Their services are aimed at low-budget, quick turn around and can compromise on quality. What you need to ask yourself is “Will the quality of this print affect or damage my brand?” There are always ways of producing cheaper, but unless you understand what corners are being cut, you won’t know whether you are going to be happy with the final job. Some print providers will produce your job as a bulk order with other clients work, which may mean you job doesn’t receive the focus and care it needs to match the design. We use our print management process to ensure the correct printer is chosen for the job.

Ask to see some previous work and the materials the printer uses and compare this to other suppliers before you decide who to use. Ask around and get other people’s opinion to see if you can benefit from their advice.

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