Digital Printing is here!

Brandywine has gone digital!  People used to ask me when we were going to start offering digital printing, and my response was something like… “Never!”  Well now I’m sitting here eating my hat.  We installed our first digital machine last week, and we’re not looking back.

The digital age has been upon us for several years.  It’s not that we were scared of it, we just didn’t jump on the wagon when all the other guys in our industry did.  Using traditional offset printing presses, we have been able to deliver a very high quality product on a very consistent basis.  However, as buying trends change, we see companies that need printing focus their marketing efforts more directly.  This focused marketing results in lower quantities of printed materials.

The downside to offset printing is the preparation costs, or as it has been labeled “setup costs”.  These costs are associated with everything that it takes to get ready to print, before the first sheet of paper is ever touched. The plates, the ink, the time that it takes to line everything up… not to mention cleaning the press up at the end of the job.  All of that stuff has to be paid for regardless of the quantity of sheets printed, and it takes a lot of materials.  The upside of offset printing is that it’s the golden standard when it comes to printing.  Sheet fed offset printing can’t be duplicated.  It’s a process that has been perfected over the last one hundred years or so.  When it comes to printing, there is no process more consistent than offset.

Now digital printing on the other hand is a different animal.  The downside is that the consistency and quality don’t compare to the offset process, but as time moves on it’s getting closer… everyday!  There must be an upside to digital printing… Yep, here it is.  The quality is very good, and pretty consistent, but there are no preparation costs associated with each job.

There are three basic costs in digital printing;

•1 The payment on the machine.

•2 Something called a click charge, which covers all of the repairs, maintenance, and toner needed.

•3  The labor involved int he production process.

Believe it or not, that is very simplified compared to the costs of offset printing. So the biggest advantage of digital printing is PRICE!  As customer expectations fall, and digital quality rises the price is the deciding factor.

We have seen some of the largest companies move to purchasing digital pieces.  The lower prices of digital printing compared to offset printing, have allowed companies who purchase printing regularly to spread their budget around to more projects.  So digital printing isn’t hurting our industry, the money is still being spent, it just purchases more value than it has in the past.  Digital is here to stay… and so is Brandywine!

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  1. Posted May 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink


    Will this give me the ability to “store” several digital docs with you and then order small quantities as needed, and get them quickly?


  2. Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes Sir! That is a perfect example of how to take advantage of Digital printing. Send us some files, and we can give you prices on varying quantities. You can determine if it makes sense from there.

  3. John
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    While digital printing has enabled people to buy full color and some spot color in lower quantities, one cannot deny that basic single, two or more color in certain quantities is less costly on press, as press does not have a “per-click” charge. So, when it comes to volume printing, offset still has a market. Would you agree?

  4. Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely! I believe that offset printing will always have it’s place when the quantities are high enough. For us, we don’t consider offset unless the press sheet count is 2000 sheets or higher. That is the area that offset and digital printing costs start to equalize. A two color tight registration job requiring 1000 press sheets is less expensive to produce digitally, using 4 color process than printing the same job on an offset press. We have found that most of our customers in that situation, will take advantage of the savings and the increase in options. Thereby upgrading their piece to take advantage of the 4 color process job, and add more color to the job for less money.

    You are correct though, when it comes to volume, offset printing is still the way to go.

    – Derek

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