There's a lot to think about when it comes to printing, like file types, colour spaces, paper weights and finishes to name but a few.
To give you a helping hand, here's our most commonly asked questions and answers.
If you can't see what you need here give us a shout and one of our friendly staff will be happy to help you out, it's what we're here for.
Historically, the difference between litho and digital printing has been three fold: quality, timing and price (more on price later). Since Indigo came onto the digital print scene, the difference in quality between litho and Indigo digital print has been reducing with each new machine, to the point where it is now almost non-existent.
Whilst traditional digital printers use a toner based system (think a larger scale photo copier), the Indigo system uses a patented digital offset (litho) system. A latent image is created via an electrical charge onto the photo imaging plate or 'pip' for short. It is then coated in electrically charged ink to form the image. The image is then transferred to a rubber blanket which is in turn transferred to the paper to make the impression. For a full colour job, this is done 4 times (all in a few seconds) with the process inks (more on that later) Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to create almost any colour in the spectrum. It's this process which sets Indigo apart in terms of quality and speed to traditional digital printers. Litho offset uses a similar process but instead of using electrically charged ink on a pip, it uses a plate which has been created by lasering the image into a sheet of aluminium. Again this process is done colour by colour, so to produce a 4 colour job you need to create 4 plates.
Now we know the different between Indigo (digital) and litho, the next question is: what is going to be more cost effective for your run?
Set up fees for litho are dear as you need to create a plate for each individual colour in each individual sheet and generally need more time, materials and people power to set up the machine.
As we know the Indigo works using a pip which can change the electrically charged image after each impression, this means the set up fees are minimal in comparison. Due to litho runs being much larger (think newspaper runs, or magazines) the material cost in the paper and ink is much cheaper then digital paper and ink.
So as a rule, long run work in the thousands and millions is better suited to litho as the set up costs are swallowed in the overall price, where as shorter runs in the tens, hundreds and thousands are better suited to digital. Just bear in mind that litho usually takes a minimum of 2-3 days for the simplest, smallest runs, where as indigo can be produced in a matter of hours.
There are all sorts of wonderful materials to print onto, not only coated or uncoated papers but various plastics, clear acetates, silver and gold foil materials and self adhesives to name but a few. Most digital presses will only print up to 300gsm (gsm being the weight in grams per square meter), so your business cards would feel a little flimsy.
However, with our Indigo press we can print up to 400gsm and if you want to go crazy we can duplex sheets together to make them as thick as you like. It's really all down to your preference and if you don't know what you want, we're always more then happy to show you some paper samples and finishes that are available.
Our office hours are Monday - Friday 08:30AM - 6pM. However, if you have a particular job that is needed out of these hours let us know in advance and something can usually be sorted out.
If it's your first job with us we usually ask for payment on delivery. This then opens up your account with us for any future work (lucky you). Any subsequent work is then invoiced and payable within 30 days.
Another great thing about indigo is wet proofs.
As there are no plate charges we can usually produce a fully made up proof of your job for you at no extra cost.
Great for piece of mind.
Generally the best and easiest way to send us a file is to send a PDF over email (if it's under 18MB). We can also print from an InDesign file, Illustrator file, Photoshop file, tiff, jpeg... The choice is pretty much yours. You could even send us a quark express file if you're feeling old school. These files are generally very large though and will need to be sent via a file share like WeTransfer. If that means nothing to you, give us a shout and we can talk you through it.
For the best results, files should be set up in Process colour CMYK. This is the standard colour space that all printers use, be them digital, litho, office, screen or even potato (ok not the last one). For the best results, send a PDF with crops and bleed.
Potato printing aside, CMYK are the process inks that all other colours are made from when printing digitally. This is the colourspace for files should be set in that are going to be printed. This will enable the most accurate reproduction of colours.
RGB are the primary colours of light which your monitor or display on your camera will use. Any file set in RGB colours will need to be converted to CMYK before it is printed. However, it's this conversion that can cause problems with colour reproduction (amongst other things).
Pantone colours are another ink system where pre-mixed special inks can be selected. Pantone colours are mainly used in litho printing. If you are printing digitally the same problems with converting pantone colours to CMYK can occur as when converting RGB, plus a couple of others, mainly with transparency effects.
As we print on oversize sheets, the crop marks (also called trim or tick marks) show us where to trim the paper after it has been printed on (an A3 business card would be pretty useless, eh). The bleed is the area in which any image or colour overhangs the edge of the trim area.
With all print there is always a small degree of movement – if there was no bleed you could potentially end up with white paper showing at the edge of your beautiful print (and we wouldn't want that would we).
The Indigo prints on SRA3 sheets with a maximum image area generally of 435mm x 310mm (it can change slightly depending on the stock being printed on).
After that there are various litho or toner based options.
When printing posters we have a photo quality Epson Sure Colour inkjet printer that can print single sided up to 1 metre by 30 metres.
As we are based in Central London, delivery to the surrounding area by courier is included in the price.
If you are outside of central London or the UK, delivery is done at cost price.
In layman's terms, the resolution of a digital image relates to the amount of pixels that image contains.
So usually the more pixels the image has, the sharper the image is. When people refer to the DPI of a digital image, more often then not what they are actually referring to is PPI which stands for pixels per inch (meaning the amount of pixels in a square inch of the image). The two are mistaken so often that it has almost become an interchangeable term with some programmes now labelling DPI instead of PPI.
DPI actually stands for dots per inch and is a measure of the amount of physical printed dots per inch of paper. For the best quality photo reproduction, files should be supplied at 300ppi at same size – meaning at the size they need to be printed at.