Digital Dos and Don’ts
Since its introduction more than a decade ago, digital printing has remained a steadily growing market—one that experts predict will continue to thrive as technologies and opportunities evolve. Manufacturers of equipment, inks and papers are busy developing new products in response to emerging digital markets and trends, and printers are augmenting existing pressroom capabilities to tap into the high-profit market. For many distributors, the focus is on helping customers leverage the power of variable data to grow their businesses.
The increasing demand for digital printing and variable data is what led Team Concept Printing & Thermography, Carol Stream, Ill., to install an iGen3 last year. Tony Rouse, owner, and Laurie Kaminski, the company’s four-color area supervisor, pointed out that people who are used to offset often build their blacks in a CMYK breakdown, yet digital interprets black best when it’s built in 100 percent K.
“If you have a rich, CMYK black, it will tend to look a little washed out or less vibrant compared to 100 percent K,” observed Kaminski. “If it is just a solid background black built in CMYK, 99 percent of the time we can change the background to 100 percent K. But, if you have a TIFF file, for example, that was built in PhotoShop, and it has a CMYK black background placed on top of another black background, you cannot change one without changing the other. And, most of the time, we are not able to change them both.” Kaminski also suggested avoiding solid pastel colors when designing for digital. “They can be very hard to hold,” she observed.
Many printers who initially wanted to steer clear of digital are realizing they have to embrace this technology to remain profitable in today’s marketplace. “And, not just digital, but the variable part of it—especially the hard-core variable, where you are changing out different images and [data],” noted Rouse. “This is big, and it will continue to be a big part of printing well into the future.” A rather straightforward project may involve different images for different geographical regions. However, an age-oriented travel industry campaign, for instance, could involve targeting seniors, as well as families with young children. Then, it becomes a matter of writing the programs so they know which images to put with which names,” Rouse explained.