Special Report - Direct Mail Technology: 3 Important Ways Print Is Transforming Direct Mail
How Is Digital Different?
Have you kept up with the times? A surprising number of print designers and print buyers have missed the revolution in digital print, but it's never too late to get educated. Whether you are designing direct mail marketing, billboards, high-value marketing collateral or even floors and wall coverings, there are digital options you should be considering.
The definition of digital printing is a good place to start. Throughout this magazine and across the Internet you can find definitions of digital printing. In its simplest form, digital printing requires a file that is interpreted by a digital front end and turned into printed output. For every type of digital printing, those file formats and digital interpreters will be different, and understanding them, as well as the technologies they control, is what can give a designer an advantage.
Starting with marks on a substrate, electrophotographic (EP) printing technology today provides options for printing white on dark substrates, using metallic colors, and a wide variety of glossy, matte and textured coatings that may be printed in-line or added in post-processing. Don't forget options for printing with custom-formulated colors and extending the color gamut with more than the traditional four-color processes that can include light cyan, light magenta, light yellow and gray variations. If you have never worked with the new generation of digital presses, it's worth investigating these options for your marketing collateral and direct marketing needs.
Moving on to ink-jet technology, the options have grown to include high resolution printing, custom color formulations and the ability to print on more substrates. Need custom flooring? There are companies that can take your designs and turn them into a custom-designed floor. The same is true with wall coverings.
Individualization and Finishing
Both EP and ink-jet technology have attracted packaging designers who see the ability to create completely custom packaging as a path to fraud prevention, as well as customer-directed personalization. When you can print every box of cereal or every label individually, the options are endless.
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.