Short Run Printing Facts

Adan Ines asked:

Short run printing is one of the more popular fads today. The ability to create prints without a minimum number of copies has made the printing industry more accessible and more available to mass audience. No longer will you have to order large amounts of prints in order to have your materials done. You can order prints of up to a single copy and this is the main reason why printing in short run is very popular today.

Printing in short run – how it started

Printing in short run was made available to people during the advent of digital printing methods. During the old days, traditional offset printing was the most reliable method of printing your materials. However, their main flaw is that you need to have a large number of copies in order for your materials to be cost effective.

This is because of the production cost of printing you materials. Traditional offset printing employs a number of mechanical processes that makes the production cost high. Processes like plate production and color stripping were a vital part in the offset printing process and it can not be skipped.

Digital printing solved all these problems by creating a printing method that by passes all these mechanical processes. This direct to printer to approach allows digital printing to offer services that are faster and more affordable. It is faster than traditional offset printing because it does not employ different mechanical processes. It is also more affordable since you no longer need to pay for the aforementioned mechanical processes.

However, there are still misconceptions about printing in the short run that you need to clear up:

You can print short run prints on traditional offset printers

It is common to assume that traditional offset printers can not print in short run. However, this is not true. Traditional offset printers can print in short run if you wanted to. However, since there are a lot of processes involved in order to create your prints, your printing cost will significantly increase in order to cover the pre press processes.

The rationale behind offset printing is that it is geared toward bulk printing. The more prints that you create, the lower the price per printed piece becomes. the simple math: The cost of the pre press processes are divided up on the number of copies that you order. The more copies means more the production cost will be divided and if you reach a certain amount of copies that covers the production cost, you will only need to pay for the paper and the ink.

Short run printing can be classified as variable printing

Another fun fact about printing in the short run is that it can be classified as a type of variable printing. If you print in a small batch and then print another batch of new designs, it is technically considered as variable printing. It is called such because the two separate runs are considered a “single run” that produces variable data used in personalized direct marketing campaign.

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