Think of digital printing as high-quality laser or inkjet printing. Your artwork (image) is sent directly to a digital press that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) pigment or toner to produce the artwork on paper.
Digital printing is a cost effective option for projects with low quantities (typically under 50–1000) and quick turnarounds.
Very fast (2–5 days). Digital printing is great if you have a project that needs to be turned around quickly without very detailed and specific requirements (i.e. special paper, PMS colors, etc.).
Most digital printers have a limited set stock of “digital-friendly” papers. Some may accommodate a specific paper request, as long as they can verify it for their type of press. If you have a specific paper in mind, check if they have digital options in their line-up of offerings. Paper weight options usually cap out around 120 lb. cover.
Typically up to 13" x 19", however, some digital presses are beginning to accommodate larger sheet sizes.
Best for projects that don’t have heavy solid color ink coverage because ink does not permeate paper. Color consistency from one print run to another is not guaranteed.
There is a difference in print quality depending on the type of digital press. Igen, Konica Minolta and Nex Press use a dry toner. HP Indigo uses a liquid-base toner that tends to have a closer look & feel to offset printing.
Digital printing can be done through an online service or with a local digital press. Once you deliver files to the printer, you'll be able to approve a digital proof (a.k.a. soft proof) before the full job is printed.