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Digital Printing Design Tips

Digital printing offers many advantages over traditional printing methods. It’s more cost-effective, quicker, and can accommodate much smaller print volumes. Other printing methods, such as offset, are more expensive and require high volume runs. When it comes to designing a piece for digital printing, there are a few important things that you should take into consideration. We’ve compiled a list of our top five tips on what designers need to keep in mind when creating a piece that will be printed on a digital printer:

Resolution & Format

Using the proper resolution is essential when it comes to digital printing. While a printer can scale down an image, it can’t scale it up. This is why you should ensure that you set your resolution to at least 300dpi. When it comes to images, the higher the resolution, the better. You should also avoid enlarging photos from their original format as it will lower the resolution. There are also some formats you should avoid altogether. Compressed photo files such as JPEG and .Gif are not recommended as they were specifically designed for the web, not printing. Instead, try to use a format such as .tiff, .eps, or .psd.

Solids and Digital

Digital printers use toner while offset printers use actual inks. This allows the offset printing press to reproduce areas of solid colors more evenly than digital, which tends to print them in an uneven pattern. The reason behind this is due to how the paper absorbs the ink versus how it absorbs the toner from a digital printer. You can try to mitigate this effect by adding a filter (e.g., Photoshop “Add Noise” or “Texture”) in your digital editing program to break up any solid areas. Or, you can try to break up large color areas with boxes, text, or illustrations. If you’re still in doubt, give your printer a call, or you can send them your design to confirm the final output.

Variable Data Printing

Variable data printing allows you to customize each printed piece with different information. For example, if you’re having card mailers printed up, you can take advantage of variable data printing by adding a custom note to each person based on their customer profile. This, in turn, helps establish trust and can even increase conversion rates! Custom data is one of the major advantages that digital printing has over offset printing. With digital, you can change the information and customize the text, and the computer will immediately print it. With offset, you’re stuck with whatever information is on the customized plate. Creating a new plate is cost-prohibitive and time-consuming.

Consider the Fold

If you’re planning on folding any part of the finished piece, you’ll want to make sure that the toner won’t crack or tear along the fold line. To prevent this, you can always ask your printer to score the printed sheets before folding them. The actual paper stock that you use can also determine whether or not it will crack. The best way to be sure is to contact your printer if you’re in doubt.

Ask for Proofs

Keep in mind that the colors you see on the monitor of your desktop or laptop computer may differ slightly than what the printer will produce. This is due to how your monitor is calibrated from the factory. If you absolutely need a specific color or tone, it’s best to have a single proof printed up so that you can verify it’s to your liking. This is another advantage of digital printing as it can print in minimal quantities, versus offset printing, which is only cost-effective during large runs.

Contact Your Printer if in Doubt

If at any time you’re in doubt or have any questions regarding your design, give the experts at AlphaGraphics of Alexandria Va. and Arlington Va. a call. We’ve helped countless Alexandria and Arlington businesses and organizations over the years design and create the perfect printed collateral. Whether you need just a few items printed, or several thousand, our expert craftsmen and state-of-the-art printers can help. If you’d like to learn more about our design or event sign services, give us a call at (703) 549-2432 or contact us on our website.

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