Offset vs. digital printing

Offset vs, digitalOffset lithography and digital printing are arguably the most common printing methods (we cover many more in this article) but they are not the same. When should you use offset and when digital printing?

When to choose offset lithography

  • When high image quality is a priority. Offset offers the best possible printing quality.
  • When specialized inks and color fidelity are required. Metallic and PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors are available.
  • On long-run prints. Producing over 1000 prints is more cost effective as cost per unit decreases.
  • With a wide range of printing substrates such as a more flexible variety of paper types, wood, cloth, metal leather and plastic.
  • With formats larger than 18″ x 12″.

When to choose digital printing

  • When a short turnaround is priority.
  • On short-run prints. Printing under 500-1000 units is more cost effective.
  • When customization is required. Since this is a computer-to-print method, information from a database or external text and graphics can be modified on each piece as it prints (e.g., names on business cards, personalized letters or ticket numbers).
  • When no PMS colors are required (though some digital printers are able to closely match them).

In short, digital printing is recommended for faster, cheaper and customizable low-volume prints. Offset printing should be used for high-volume printing with a higher quality.


Sources: Pinsonnault Creative | Sage Media | Tsunami Marketing | University of South Australia

8 things you should check before sending a file to the printer

Print proof

Ordering a high-volume printing job means producing thousands of units from a single document, so a single mistake can turn into the thousands as well. This is why you should check these 8 things before sending a file to the printer.

  1. Convert images to CMYK. Here’s the difference between RGB and CMYK color profiles. If you are working with digital photos or using RGB color in your design, make sure that you convert your images to CMYK. Otherwise your colors will look very different on print.
  2. Include an adequate bleed. The bleed is artwork space that extends outside the document borders. Since guillotines are not 100% accurate, you must add a 1/8″ of space to make sure your content doesn’t get trimmed.
  3. Set a safe area by adding quiet borders. No logos or text should be located beyond the quiet borders. These borders should be at least 1/4″ from the edge of the document. The quiet border minimun-widths are: 5mm for business cards; 8mm for CD sleeves; 12mm for flyers; 25mm for posters. Larger prints require wider quiet borders.
  4. Check for spelling mistakes. You don’t need to be a printing expert to avoid this costly mistake. After you have run the spell checker on your computer, re-read the whole copy text and/or have someone proof-read it for you. Remember that a typo can result in a correctly spelled but erroneously placed word.
  5. Convert to outlines or embed fonts. Convert all the text to outlines or curves in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign before exporting to PDF to avoid unexpected changes in the font style. If the font type you used is not installed on your printer’s computer, your material will print with a different typeface and you won’t notice until it’s too late. You can also embed the font when exporting to PDF or ultimately send the font to your printer.
  6. Use a high image resolution. 300 dpi (dots per inch) is the minimum resolution needed for print jobs. Lower resolutions such as 72 dpi will simply look terrible on print. Also, enlarging a low resolution image will not solve the problem.
  7. Print a sample for proofing. Print a rough version of the material so you can have it on your hands and check the spelling, margins and image quality. You can also make annotations for further revisions.
  8. Use the right file formats. .tiff .pdf and high-quality .jpeg files are recommended. DO NOT send .gif or .png images to print, since they were developed to handle 72 ppi (points per inch). Ask your printer first to be sure you are sending the right file type.


Sources: Andrew Kelsall Design | BCW | BonFX | Smashing Magazine

3 work lessons we can learn from The Beatles

The Beatles

It would be impossible to keep track of the number of musicians who list The Beatles as their inspiration. It is also hard not to like at least one of their melodies, from Love Me Do  to The End there’s something for every kind of taste. But what can we as members of an organization learn from the Fab Four?

  1. Get by with a little help from your friends. John Lennon and Paul McCartney are arguably the most famous songwriting team of our times. They would finish each other’s songs, improve verses, fill in blanks and hit hard-to-reach notes (such is the case in A Hard Day’s Night, written by Lennon with the bridge sung by McCartney because John couldn’t). At work you must encourage an environment of collaboration where everyone’s output is considered. If you are stuck on a project or testing a new idea, run it by your colleagues. After all it was Ringo Starr, who rarely got to write, who originated the title of that song, an album and a movie.
  2. Act naturally. Even after recording hit after hit and becoming world famous, the Liverpool Quartet never lost their down-to-earthness and that’s what the press loved about them. They always joked and had fun onstage and offstage. At the office and outside you got to love what you do and do what you love. Don’t try to impress your supervisors with a phony or obnoxious attitude even if you are the best at what you do. Never look down upon anyone in a lower job position. Remember you’re all part of the same team!
  3. Take a sad song and make it better. Yoko Ono came in and broke up The Beatles or so the story goes. John left in 1969 and then Paul made the announcement later on. The truth is all four members were ready to carry on separately with their own music and being a Beatle was just not fullfilling anymore. So it was essentially a good thing that the band broke up before releasing an album nobody would have really wanted to do and in time for us to enjoy the successful solo careers of John, Paul, George and (again, even) Ringo. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, your project was shut down or your idea got shelved. Accept apparent defeat as part of the learning process and keep your head out looking for new opportunities. Don’t be discouraged; after all, The Beatles were at first rejected by Decca being told that “The Beatles have no future in show business”.

The Beatles playing golf

4. Play golf.

So whether you have the wit of John, the charm of Paul, the insight of George, Ringo’s sense of humor, or the outsourced talent of Billy Preston, your role is vital for your band’s company’s success.

Win back your customers’ heart

Flowers(Image: Sean Locke).

Love and business are often similar. Time and again you find yourself wanting to get back together after a breakup but don’t really know where to start and what to do different this time. Here are 8 tips to win back your customer’s heart:

  1. Find out what’s wrong. Start the dialog. Prove your willingness to sit down and listen before your speak. Don’t assume anything.
  2. Get to the bottom of the problem. “It’s not me, it’s YOU.” Figure out the real cause of the problem, and once you do, find out if your customer agrees with it. They may see things differently.
  3. “I just want you to be happy”. Refer new business to your ex-customers. Show them you have their best interest at heart even if they aren’t your customers anymore. Be honest with it and you might start a new business relationship.
  4. Calibrate your verbal and body language. During a conflict it is easy to lose focus; being patient will not only clear your mind but also calm you customer. You will both be able to solve the issue.
  5. Offer a plan of action. Now that you have listened and clearly understand the core problem, offer a specific strategy to solve it. What do you promise to do? How will you change? What do you expect?
  6. Sweeten the deal with an incentive. A box of chocolates and flowers really help. Remember how emotions might have been vented before? You can now reestablish an emotional connection with your customer by adding an incentive: a free sample, a gift certificate. Get creative, it’s the little details that matter.
  7. Show your interest but don’t be needy. You might need to fight your way back but once your customers see your honest intentions and perseverance, they will get over their initial anger and fear of rejection. Be ready to compromise, you already know what they want.
  8. Nurture the relationship. Let your customers know how much it means to have them back. Schedule follow up dates, phone calls or e-mails and keep in touch with them. Remember what made them unhappy and avoid the same mistakes.


Source: All Business

5 terms you must know before you print

Printing terms

When ordering a custom printing job, there are certain terms you must first know to get exactly what you want.

  1. Stock. Paper or other material to be printed. It can be divided into body (the stock where the main text is to be printed) and cover stock (a generally thicker material used for posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books).
  2. Paper brand. Get to know the brand of paper that fits your needs but bear in mind that we recommend you to seek paper quality first and brand name second Your print provider may offer you a bulk price if you ask for a specific brand.
  3. Weight. The weight difference between a single sheet of two types of paper may be imperceptible. But is it the same with an 2000 page book? In the US and Canada, basis weight (also called substance weight) refers to the actual weight in pounds of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper. In other countries with ISO paper sizes, basis weight (also called grammage) means the weight in grams of a square meter of paper. Ream weight is used to express the weight in pounds of 500 sheets of paper cut to the basic size. *NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH FONT WEIGHT. Font or type weight is the comparative amount of blackness of a type style. Light, semi, bold or ultra bold typefaces have different weight between them.
  4. Opacity. The property of both paper andk ink to prevent printing on one side of the sheet from showing through to the other. Do you want almost see-through paper or a high-opacity paper for your print material?
  5. Caliper. The thickness of paper in thousandths of an inch (also called mils or points), pages per inch (ppi) thousandths of a millimeter (microns), or pages per centimeter (ppc).

These are just the basics but they sure will come in handy the next time your company needs you to send something to the printer.

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Printing Industry Exchange

5 tips to save money with business printing companies

Books printed in bulk

Paper can represent up to 30 percent of the total cost of a business printing project. Whether your organization needs to print books, catalogs, magazines or any other kind of print material, if you can find ways to save on high-volume printing, you are going to be a hero at your company. Here are 5 ways to save on industrial printing.

  1. Go for paper qualities instead of brands. Specify the quality of the paper you need instead of the brand name. Printing companies usually negotiate with paper suppliers to get a special discount on the kind of paper their customers order more. Since they order in bulk, costs go down for them, as does and your purchasing price. If you order a specific paper brand, you print provider will not be able to give you a discount.
  2. Reduce the number of pages in your publications. If you print books or catalogs, make the most out of the unit cost by including only the valuable content you need to showcase. A couple of words can shorten a sentence, which can shorten a paragraph that will in turn reduce a page. Multiply that one page times the number of print issues and it becomes key for your saving money efforts.
  3. Change the page size and paper weight. There are new lighter papers below 50 lb. stock with higher opacity. Also, if you choose a standard paper size, trimming costs are reduced.
  4. Look for other printing options. Shipping costs allow you to seek for print providers in a wider range and more competitive rates. Make the most out of globalization.
  5. Include advertising in your publications. This may not apply if your print material is published inside your company, but think about it: media insertions by relevant advertisers in your books or magazines.

Sources: Printined Industry Exchange |  Smart Catalog