Much of our work is printed on an HP Indigo Digital Press. It has the unique advantage of delivering quality every bit as good as traditional offset print, but with the cost advantage of not requiring plates, making it well suited for shorter runs.
We thought you might like to know a little about the detail of this machine so you can learn to love it as much as we do.
The image is formed digitally within the press, but unlike most digital printers, the image is formed using liquid ink. This ink is then transferred to a rubber blanket, and is again transferred on to the paper (or stock as we call it) as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder. If you know a thing or two about offset printing, you might recognise the process – the difference being that instead of an aluminium plate as an image master, the image is generated digitally. The rest of the process is pretty much as happens in an offset press.
The reason we make such a fuss about it using liquid inks, is that this is what enables the outstanding quality – liquid ink binds itself into the fibres of the paper, meaning that the prints look more natural and, well, more like traditional offset printing.
It also means that if we’re printing on uncoated stock, the natural fibres of the paper can be seen and admired. Most other digital printers use toner, and the toner sits on top of the paper and you get that slick, glossy look and it’s such a waste when you’ve spent money on a beautiful quality paper, only to have it covered up with toner. Those machines are much cheaper by comparison, but in our opinion, the quality is no better than you get on your own desktop printer, so we prefer not to go down that track.
The liquid inks however, showcase the paper and we get a beautiful result that we’re proud to deliver.
We find that our printing is sought after by the Design Community, Corporates who take great pride in their branding and those that really care about how their printed material looks and feels.
This technology means we can balance the need for quality against the need to do shorter print runs more economically. Of course, there’s a tipping point at which it can become more cost effective to put the job on a traditional offset press, and we calculate that out and make that call on a job by job basis. We’ll assess whether cost, drying time and finishing factors make traditional offset viable, and if it is, then that’s what we do.