Exploring Short-Run Digital Printing

Short-Run Digital Printing: What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks?

Printing is printing, right?

Well, not exactly.

While the end results of various processes may look and feel extremely similar, Xpress Group uses different techniques to deliver the broad range of printed solutions our clients need. It’s fantastic that today’s printing technology has come such a long way; the changes in our industry mean we have so much more to offer. And we can provide it in such a responsive, flexible way.

In particular, short-run digital printing – one of our specialist services.

We’ll walk you through what it is, including its benefits and drawbacks, so you can decide which type of printing will best suit your business or your particular project.

What is Short-Run Digital Printing?

Short-run digital printing is as it sounds: printing in relatively small batches and in relatively small volumes.

It’s a fast way to print items that may need to be turned around quickly.

A digital press takes your files and, using a Raster Image Processor (RIP), translates them into a high-resolution digital-based image that it prints onto paper or other ‘stock’ that’s typically made specifically for digital presses.

Digital print differs from offset printing – generally the best route for higher volume printing – which uses printing plates that are used to transfer text or images onto a rubber “blanket”, and then onto paper. The setup process involved is long-winded and costs more.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Short-Run Printing?

Benefits of short-run digital printing

It’s fast – or, it can be

We’ve touched briefly on this already:

Generally speaking, the production and delivery process can be super-rapid. For example, you may need brochures for a last-minute exhibition stand, or perhaps someone on your team is down to their last business card.

The use of digital technology and publishing software means that setup time is significantly reduced, so your urgently required marketing materials can be with you quickly, with no compromise on quality.

It looks great

Digital printing and quick turnarounds do not compromise the quality or standard of printing. In many cases, the difference between a digital and litho-printed item is imperceptible. Detailed, bright, sharp, printed products can be winging their way to you at the touch of a button (well, not literally!)

Flexible and adaptable

If your business adapts and amends its content regularly, digital printing is perfect. In a word, it’s agile.

You may be introducing new services or responding to changes in your sector, so this responsive between-batch printing method enables you to do this without breaking the budget and ending up with piled-high boxes of brochures in your storeroom.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that if you get the pre-printing jitters, digital short runs provide the ideal opportunity for intense proofreading. With offset printing, once the plates are in place, there’s no going back.

Lower volume printing

With a quicker set-up time, short-run printing works brilliantly for lower print-run numbers. For example, you may have an 80-page A5 brochure for Xpress Group to produce but perhaps need only 100 copies. In the vast majority of cases, short-run digital printing will be the best choice for turnaround and cost-effectiveness.

If you’re a start-up business looking to control your initial costs, traditional print companies will typically only allow you to order print in large quantities. But, with short-run printing, you, too, can have smart, cost-effective business cards or brochures for a lower price.

What are the Disadvantages of Short-Run Digital Printing?

Higher costs per item

As with most things, economies of scale should always be a serious consideration. And the same applies to printing. It’s the most obvious drawback.

A shorter print run typically means higher per-unit pricing than the volume discounts delivered by litho printing. But it depends on what your needs are. You may not need 10,000 copies or more because it would be overkill. The price per unit might be attractive, but it may leave you drowning in brochures, never to be seen again if there’s nowhere to store them.

Everything will depend on the demands of your particular project.

Modern-Day Printing

In the 21st Century, if short-run digital printing were a person, we think it would be graceful and supple, with laser-sharp reflexes. It would literally jump to it and be first in the queue.

Short-run printing from Xpress Group reflects our fast-moving business environment and, with highly professional results, could help your business expand and grow.

For success in the long run, Contact us for more information.