Digital or short run printing is the ability to print a smaller run of a print job. This is usually accomplished through a digital process that involves little to no cost for setup, making it a cost-effective choice for both the provider and the consumer. Small business can have their flyers, business cards, brochures, posters, and other promotional materials created at a price they can afford.
Digital printing links printing presses with computers, providing several beneficial results. Turnaround times are faster, production and setup costs are lowered, and it is easier to personalize documents. This is a relatively new technology but has quickly risen in popularity within the printing industry because it is a more efficient way to print materials.
This process involves gathering text and images via an analog format like scanning a document or using a digital method such as a word processing file or digital camera. The information is then converted to a usable file, often an EPS or TIFF. Layout is set and a proof is provided to the customer for review and approval. Printing can begin shortly after the design and layout are set.
In the world of digital printing, different printing methods are used. Inkjet printing is the primary method utilized by individuals and small businesses. Thermal printing is used by business that produce multiple transparencies for presentations. Graphic designers often prefer the dye sublimination method to others. Electrostatic printing makes use of electrostatic forces to create an image directly on the surface being printed, using toner.
Due to the lower pre-press and setup costs versus plate printing, it is much more affordable to print digital short runs. The digital image can be created in nearly any size, with the largest graphics being tiled and then assembled in pieces. When digital imaging is used, quick turnaround is possible and images can be changed at the last minute, if necessary.