New Printing Methods Vs Old – Fall in Love with Print Again
What Printing Methods to use and when
There are many different types of printing methods available and they’re continuing to evolve. The best printing technique depends on each job, meaning that we choose a printing method that best suits what’s being printed, including the product (e.g. brochure) quantity, stock (paper type) and colour.
This article will investigate the traditional printing methods of why they are not only still relevant today, but how they compare to digital printing. We will look into the different printing mediums they can produce so you can create something unique and memorable.
As we search for a new printing process, let’s take a gander at the most common printing processes that have shaped the industry as we know it.
Old Printing Methods that are still used today
Printing has progressed over the years since using ink and woodblocks in China 1800-years ago. In the 15th century, the original Gutenburg Printing Press changed the way multiple versions could be created and we haven’t looked back. Many traditional printing techniques are still used today and contrary to belief, only 9% of the world’s print use more modern-day digital printing methods.
The Rotary Press was the natural successor to the original Gutenburg Printing Press using movable type heads. It worked by using cylinders to print multiple images. This was a lot faster than the older printing press and allowed for paper to be continuously fed through the press. This process is still used in most printing methods used today.
Lithographic or litho printing is when the content you want to produce is placed on a plate which is then covered in ink and used for printing. This method dries the ink much faster, preserving the colour and details much better and has continued to evolve through technology to the machines we have today, capable of printing 132,000 A4 sheets an hour. Litho provides the best value for medium to high volume quantities and high-end finishes. It has the flexibility to print from 70gsm right up to 600micron board and capacity to produce large volumes should your print job require it. From packaging to prospectuses, or folders and promotional literature our state-of-the-art litho presses can print anything.
Advantages of Litho Printing:
- Print large quantities cost effectively
- The more you print, the cheaper the price
- A large variety of paper types with custom finishes can be used
- Special custom inks such as metallic and Pantone colours are available
- Highest possible printing quality, with greater detail and colour fidelity
Short for reprographics, it describes the process our studio goes through to get a file ready for printing. However, our repro team are also experts in colour retouching files to match to a physical products which helps when the printed product must match a physical one – think kitchens, bathrooms, clothing, manufacturing products
- Colour retouching
New Printing Methods
Inkjet has become the most common household printing solution. Inkjet is a practical purpose for small print runs and is available to the general public at an affordable cost. The process involves a printer which communicates digitally with a computer and physically sprays the ink onto the paper. This process is best suited to photography and high-quality pictures as liquid ink produces a higher resolution and better-blended imagery.
- Colourful work
Advantages of Inkjet
- Image quality
- Low Cost
- No warm-up time
Once inkjet came, then followed Laser Printing. This advanced method produces high quality images by passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder within the printer. It then collects electrically charged powdered ink to transfer the image to the paper. Laser printing is best for detailed typography and prints at a much quicker speed to its inkjet counterpart – able to print multiple versions in record time.
- Text heavy documents
Advantages of Laser
- A laser printer can produce pages more quickly than an inkjet printer can.
- Toner costs for a laser printer are less per page than replacing inkjet printer cartridges.
- A laser printer is generally quieter than a low-cost inkjet printer.
- Text and line graphics are extremely crisp.
Essentially, as long as the printer has digital capabilities it can receive documents connected to a computer, network or printed wirelessly. While the quality has increased dramatically since its introduction, some digital print devices leave customers frustrated and not quite what they were expecting. Here at Galloways, our litho and digital print departments are calibrated to the same colour standards meaning we can cross between output mediums with relative ease depending on the project. Digital print does not require unique individual plates, you can quickly produce different designs at a lower cost. Digital printing is best used for interchangeable shorter runs.
Advantages of Digital Printing:
- Setup costs are lower for short runs
- Print only the amount you need, when you need it
- Lower minimum quantities
- Personalised print
- Variable data capability for mail merges (names, addresses, etc)
Whilst not strictly a ‘printing’ method, our web to print department has grown significantly in recent years particularly with more people working remotely and not as connected to their teams. Our web2print platform allows your digital assets to be held in the cloud for you to print at your most convenient. You can access the platform through a web browser where you can see your library of your business’ branded files to make the ordering process as quick and easy as possible. You can see live-stock reports at any time, proofing jobs instantaneously and order your print 24/7. Once ordered, depending on how your account is set up, we will either output your job via our litho, digital or wide format print department.
You can now produce stunning results up to a maximum of 1300 cm in width, up to almost any length your business could ever require. Our state-of-the-art wide format printer is capable of printing onto an extensive list of materials, including textiles, plastic films or foil and on a wide range of paper.
Alternatives and what does the future hold?
By 2030, printing professionals believe the world will depend on online ordering much like e-commerce. The natural similarities between e-commerce and web-to-print opens the door for ordering both print and packaging online. As a result, our investment in our Web-2-Print system and online ordering allows you to print and distribute at the click of a button.
One of the highlights of printing investments of 2020 was Amazon’s commitment to buy $400 million of inkjet equipment for its new merchandise business line, Merch by Amazon. This will include customised print of direct-to-consumer products like t-shirts, calendars, posters and photos.
This move to a smaller quantity and on-demand service paves the way for businesses in the future as both consumers and business purchase behaviour changes for a more frequent ordering of smaller quantity sustainable print solutions.