VDP: Debunking Urban Legends
Digital print quality holds up on a wide range of applications. At the 2006 ADIM (Art Directors Invitational Master) Conference—a four-day event surveying the latest computer-based design tools for designers, illustrators, art directors and photographers—participants digitally printed wine label design comps, final labels and promotional posters in a personalized book.
“The print quality is stunning,” says Russell Brown, senior creative director, Adobe Systems and a founder of the ADIM Conference. “The personalized book is a powerful reminder of what this technology can do.”
• Digital printing is too expensive, and our run lengths are too long for digital presses.
Offset will always have a cost advantage on longer runs. But, as digital technology improves, its cost advantage extends to increasingly longer “short” runs. And many are willing to pay a slight premium for digital printing’s improved workflow efficiency, faster turnaround, elimination of warehousing and obsolescence of out-of-date materials through print-on-demand, and personalization of every piece in a production to improve relevance. In many cases, these benefits compensate for the higher cost of digital printing by delivering big cost savings and better results.
For example, Heritage Education Funds recently ran a controlled, apples-to-apples test comparing a customized communications program to a traditional campaign. Heritage reduced the cost of acquiring a customer by 21 percent with the digitally printed one-to-one campaign, despite a 36 percent higher printing cost than the traditional method (72 cents per piece vs. 53 cents).
Other digital cost savings can include: Lower paper-related costs—one-pass printing of stationery and content eliminates costly production and storage of letterhead, while simplifying paper loading, which can reduce labor costs; lower labor costs—labor is one of the highest costs at any printing establishment, and digital printing workflow systems can be highly automated, reducing labor needs; and lower delivery costs—once a file is print-ready, delivering it over the Internet for local printing can speed up job deliveries by hours or days and cut costs by replacing or supplementing overland shipping.