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  • Writer's pictureKerem Doğan Karakoç

What is Digital Printing?

What is digital printing? Here’s everything you need to know about it along with its benefits, methods, and drawbacks.

Digital printing is a process referring to the direct printing of an image to a media element. This means that the source file, which can be a PDF or JPG, goes directly to the printer to be printed on the material.

While digital printing is an expensive method of printing in high quantities, it is a lot faster than its analog counterparts. When compared to offset printing, which is more common and offers production at a lower cost, digital methods grant more freedom in small and personal projects. Thanks to the advancements in the field of toner-based technology, it has become more common in publishing, printing, and textile as well.

Digital Printing: Pros and Cons

Today, digital printing is preferred to its conventional counterpart on many different occasions. Here are all the benefits of digitalized printing and why it is better than most other printing methods.

digital printing

It is faster than offset printing.

Offset printing requires the plates to be replaced on a regular basis. The whole printing plate replacement process also includes manual labor. All of these factors make offset printing slower than its rival.

Digital printing, on the other hand, removes the need for plates altogether. It comes directly from the file and goes to the printer.

Cheaper at low quantities.

This type of printing is best for productions in low quantities. While it seems more expensive on paper, it saves the money spent on printing plates; making it a more viable option when it comes to budget projects.

Yields vibrant colors.

Another feature that made it widely popular is its great color performance. Thanks to the advancements we have seen in new printers, it is possible to see vibrant colors on the printed material. This means that the quality gap difference between digital and offset is getting smaller each day.

Offers flexibility and freedom.

Digital printing comes with a ton of benefits that includes flexibility and customization. Unlike offset printing, you can always customize the source file and start the reprinting process at almost zero cost. In other methods, the printing plate has to be replaced by a new one and that requires labor and energy, which results in a higher cost.

Faster turnarounds and print-on-demand.

Thanks to digital printers and the new improvements, the concept of printing on-demand has become a practical and effective alternative. Digital printing does not only allow faster turnarounds, but it also supports easy modification of images and is ideal for short print runs.

When a client wants a revision or demands an addition, this printing method only requires a small amount of extra time. Analog printing methods, like offset printing also require a printing plate and take more to complete.

Disadvantages of Digital Printing

The number of disadvantages of digitalized printing methods is slowly reducing. That’s because the quality difference between digital presses and offset output is almost disappearing. Here are the drawbacks of this method.

what is digital printing

More expensive in longer runs.

DP is indeed faster than its rivals. But it is also more expensive than analog printing when it comes to mass production. Most manufacturers prefer using analog methods due to the high cost of digitalized printing. On the other hand, the printing plate and the maintenance of offset output make the analog version of the production almost equally expensive.

Not great at running dark colors.

A significant drawback of digital presses is that they do not perform well on papers with dark tones. While we believe that they will get better in time, those who want to print light colors on dark material will not be content with the outcome.

Smaller paper sizes than offset printing.

Another disadvantage of this method is that it can print only on smaller paper sizes. Offset printing, on the other hand, allows printing on much bigger paper sizes. They are also more flexible in paper alternatives.

The Future of Digital Printing

We have seen a series of improvements in DP and especially in its use in the textile industry. In recent years, this very printing method has filled the gap between itself and its analog counterpart. With lower costs in small runs, faster turnarounds, and high-quality output, more manufacturers prefer utilizing it each day. Workshops and publishing services invest in digital printers as well.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that offset printing will continue to be in our lives in the future. But interesting advancements in digital printing will make it more preferable in the upcoming years.

How does digital textile printing work?

When it comes to the world of printing and textile, we have two different methods – digital and screen. We know the former with the name “direct to garment printing” as well. And it has the same process as digital printing. On most occasions, the manufacturers simply replace paper with a T-shirt made with the right material.

That way, the inkjet printer prints the image on the fabric. And with extra steps, they ensure that the print holds on to the fabric by exposing it to a heat chamber. Then the fabric goes through a washing and drying process.

It is important to note that this new concept is still improving. While the current results are quite impressive, we believe that this variant of digital printing will hold a significant part in the textile industry.

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