Printing Services Sydney
Printing Services is a pretty generic term and it can encompass a large variety of types of printing including retail, trade and commercial printing on many different substrates and substances. For our purposes we will consider printing services to revolve around printing documents and advertising materials on paper and other flexible materials. These materials may subsequently be mounted to other materials or themselves be adhesive, but we will exclude things like screen printing, pad printing and laser etching. Furthermore, we will focus on trade and commercial quantities of print, typically used by a business for sales, marketing and other business purposes. In Sydney there are four typical categories of printing services. They include digital printing, offset printing, large format printing and embellishing or finishing.
What is Digital Printing?
Digital printing is a broad term that encompasses all types of printers that take the data used to generate the printed object electronically via bits and bytes. The most common format for print documents is PDF. A software system called a RIP will then break the PDF down into multiple single chromatic print components (e.g. CMYK). An office laser printer is a digital printer and so is a multi-million dollar HP Indigo B2. The key point is the data is transferred to the printer electronically and not through photographic plates. Because of the electronic nature of the printing, variable data (e.g different information on every page) is not a problem, so short runs are efficient. Digital printing is ideally suited for small to medium sized items…A4, A3 and sometime A2.
What is Offset Printing?
Offset printing or traditional printing is what is used to produce the newspaper, magazines and high volume posters, catalogues and brochures. With offset printing there is setup required between each print job and the image being printed must be produced via film or through other chemical methods to produce a print plate. That print plate is charged or ink is applied to it and then the paper is rolled over the plate…the ink is then “offset” or transferred to the paper. This type of printing is expensive to create the first copy is very expensive, but once it is up and running it is typically much faster and more efficient than any other form of printing. It is a great way to mass produce a single thing. It is not suitable for variable data or many variations as the setup time and cost are prohibitive. Offset printing is suited for small poster and often can run up to A1 or A0 sizes (approximately 1 square metre).
What is Large Format Printing?
Large format printing is a type of digital printing whereby the ink is sprayed directly onto the paper…it is effectively a very large, very fast “ink jet” printer. These types of printers can print large billboards and poster, retail signage in shopping centres and hoarding for construction purposes. They can also be used to embellish smaller item. For example, because the ink is sprayed directly onto the paper, repetitive gloss finishes can create a texture to the print itself.
What is Embellishing and Finishing?
Embellishments are all of the fancy finishes that can be applied to the printed items. Typically, they are the last things to be done. A few examples of embellishments include: embossing, the process of crushing or denting the paper to form a texture or shape in the paper stock; foiling, the application of metallic foil to the paper to highlight names or crests or brands etc; spot UV, a clear shiny coating that draws subtle attention to certain areas and is often used for branding and; laminating, the process of coating the entire page with a clear matt or gloss thin plastic coating which protects the page from damage.
Finishing can entail many different automated and manual processes. Some of these include: saddle stitching, the process of placing staples along the spine of a booklet to keep it fastened; Case binding, turning a set of pages into a hard backed book; box making, using cutting and gluing techniques to produce a box with the printed matter on the lid.