It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large- format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.
Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.
The savings in labor and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can matchorsupersedeoffsetprintingtechnology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
The inked image is transferred from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then the image is transferred again to the paper.Generally the printing will be done out of the standard four- colour process.
This means that the artwork is separated onto four different printing plates and each plate prints a specific single colour – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).
Together these colours combine to create a full-colour print. Additional printing plates might also be added to print spot colours. These may be special inks such as fluorescent or metallic or a specific Pantone ink that matches a corporate colour. Similarly, there might be fewer colours used such as two-colour printing where only two specified colours will be printed, and because only two printing plates are being made this is cheaper than four-colour litho.