Digital Printing Online

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What are the pitfalls and difficulties with a digital printer?

Selecting the right digital printer can be difficult and time consuming job… and if you are not careful, the perceived savings of going with an online printer may be offset by the time and effort it takes out of your day to get a few online quotes, not to mention the time, effort and risk involved with creating and uploading your artwork online. Often times, digital printers have an advertised price per unit for standard jobs, but after going through the process, you end up getting several add on costs that were not disclosed up front. These costs include things like delivery charges, paper selection up-charges, proof and review charges, rush charges just to name a few.  It can also be difficult to compare apples to apples when you are getting several online quotes – for example the weight and quality of the paper may differ substantially.

Tips when selecting a digital printer

One way to avoid some of these pitfalls is to make a very small test order with a digital printer and see how they perform before going with them for some of your higher value and higher volume work. This is also helpful, as you can see if they deliver when the promise and you can find out if they hit you with hidden charges and fees.

When to use a digital printer?

Online digital printers can be effective and save you money. Typically, they work best when the job is simple – standard size, simple CMYK print – so simple that you do not need to interact with the printer at all, printed on standard papers and quality is not as important as price. Start out small and use online printers if it makes senses for you.

When to avoid using a digital printer?

Online digital printers can save you money because they do not need a central or high visibility location, they save money on account manager interaction, and they use a small range of standard paper stock for the jobs to increase efficiency in the factory. So avoid using an online digital printer when your job is a custom size, needs to stand out with specialty paper or finishes, or if you need any assistance in the design, artwork and pre-press setup process. Also, consider the production and delivery time frame with a digital online printer. If the job absolutely has to be ready in a few days, consider the risks before saving a few dollars online with a digital printer.