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Printing 101

Baby Steps To Print Purchasing Know How

The Printing Crash Course - Printing School

Should I Photocopy or Print My Project?

The decision between Photocopying and Printing a project for smaller quantities is entirely reliant on the factors far from that of quality anymore. With the modern photocopying and the advent of digital printing of images, the quality if really not an issue anymore between the choices available.

Points to consider to make the choice easier:

Photocopying:
Fast, walk up and take away service. Mostly good for small to medium quantities for black and white, and small quantities for color. No preparation is required for photocopying. The quality is a compromise for the speed and convenience, but remember that the toner is not a guaranteed bond to the paper.

Digital Printing:
Digital printing consumes a slightly longer time to beign ready, and the quantities can be medium although as the quantity rises, the price gets out of hand, although the convenience and speed makes it up. As this is a toner based printing process, slight releaf is felt on the printed stock, and again the bond of the toner to the stock is not a guarantee. Newer technologies are using liquid inks processes and are more friendly to handling and the eye.

Ink Jet:
For very small quantities of large images, especially on special substrates. Considerably slow, and therefore good for a few copies each. Great for banners, one-off posters, signs etc., Price is relative to square foot purchase, but still the best band for the buck for the applications it is recommeded here for.

Money:
Typically there's a fixed price associated with each copy. This makes photocopying ideal for lower quantities but quite expensive for larger quantities.

Quality:
Though photocopiers have come a long way, printing still wins the prize for quality. Toner can chip off and typically photo reproduction quality is second grade comparatively. You'll also have fewer choices in terms of paper stock. Linens, in particular, do not work well for photocopying.

Printing Time:
Typically, a printing job will take longer as there's some "pre-press work" to be done. Direct-to-Plate printing cuts a lot of time and money out of this process. A print shop will usually have only a few presses at their disposal so your project will have to wait in line behind jobs that came in before it.

Sheetfed Offset Printing :
As the header notes, sheetfed is printed after the roll manufactured paper is cut to sheets. Great for any quantity from a medium to large quantities, and very large quantities in smaller printed items. Definately the better alternative for heavier grades of stocks, covers etc. Time consideration must be allowed as the process requries the generation of metal plates prior to the printing of the job. Qualtiy is excellent, price drops drastically on larger print runs.

Webfed Offset Printing:
The web fed presses print on continous stock fed from a roll of paper. This process is a much faster process and definately the cheap alternative to printing in large quantities. Hugh quantities make this the most efficient system to use for large quantities of printing. The production of cheap brochures, sell sheets, flyers and inserts is definately the ideal candidates for this process.

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