Are there different types of digital printing?

Answered by Richard Sand, Business Development Manager, Digital Printing and Direct Imaging, Heidelberg USA

Are there various types of digital printing? And how is it different from what is called "short-run" printing-if at all?

Today it is common to hear terms such as variable data printing, customized printing, and versioning. All are examples of "short run" print applications. However, even today, a variable data job can have a run length of one or of thousands depending on the size of the database being used to generate the variable data piece. Compared to offset printing, digital printing is the most effective way to run a variable data job in a timely and cost-effective manner. To many, the terminology can be confusing, especially since the terms are often substituted for each other. Therefore, it is critical to understand the actual requirements of the print job. Questions like "How many printed pieces are needed right now"? Or "How often will the piece need to be updated?" will help you to determine the parameters.

Trying to define "short run" is challenging because of the wide variety of factors used to try to define a "short run." For example, are 500 a short run? What about 1,000 or 5,000? By focusing on the intended purpose of the print job and how it will be used, you can often help to define a short run digital print job.

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