How Do I Choose the Best Color Printing Process?

Commercial printers offer a range of different print processes suitable for different types of jobs. Each process has advantages and disadvantages over the others. In this article I look at each of the print processes and examine how they work and what their advantages are.

The color printing process is important for many reasons, both for businesses and consumers, and choosing the right process and machine will help users perform color printing without excess work or expense. Some color printing machines are much harder to use than others, so ease of use should be considered. Depending on what color printing process users select, the color vibrancy may be different. Users should think about how many prints they need per month, because some processes are better suited for a large number of prints, while some are better for occasional printing. Thermography also may be important, especially for users that print business cards.

Color printing is not always easy. For example, while an inkjet machine can make color prints with the touch of a button, an offset color printer requires mixing inks, preparing plates, placing the plates on cylinders and testing the prints several times before the machine is ready. This means the user’s printing knowledge should be considered when selecting a color printing process. If the user cannot operate the machine but needs that particular type because of required print frequency or color vibrancy, then more knowledgeable people may have to be hired to operate the machine.

Vibrancy, or how brilliant the color is, normally will differ among the various color printing processes. Offset printers often print very vibrant colors while inkjet and laser printers usually are just below that and the engraving color process normally creates the most vibrant prints. While a high level of vibrancy may be needed for some commercial entities, this normally increases the price and difficulty of the process, so the user should consider how much vibrancy really matters when selecting a process.

Another consideration is how many prints the color printing process has to produce each month. For example, an inkjet printer normally is made for small to medium print quantities, and printing beyond this limit can quickly cause the inkjet printer’s parts to wear. A higher monthly quantity also makes the process more expensive to use.

The color printing process normally only makes flat prints; the ink may sometimes feel slightly raised, but not by much. Some commercial entities, and some regular consumers, may require thermography printing for business cards and similar materials. By using heat and polymers, the colored ink significantly rises from the paper. If this feature is not needed then the user should not seek it out because, aside from increasing price, it typically makes the printer larger.

With high color depth values, color can be quite distinct and detailed. Computers can use a number of systems for displaying color, including the red, green, blue (RBG) system, where colors are expressed in values of red, green, and blue. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and key or black (CMYK) color display is also available on some computers and may be used by graphic designers preparing images for press, as press operators usually use CMYK color coding when mixing colors for print runs. Hexadecimal identification may be used as well.

High color depth is not always necessary. For something like word processing, only two colors are absolutely needed, while additional colors can be helpful for easing eye strain and offering functionality like using highlighting, different text colors, and so forth. Image processing, on the other hand, requires a high color depth when people are working with things like color photographs.

It is important to be aware that color depth is controlled by the screen settings, not the image itself. A person can save an image in 24-bit color and send it to a person with an eight-bit monitor, and the other person will only see 256 colors, no matter how many colors there are in the original image. Image quality can also be influenced by other factors involved in the process of saving and processing the image. For things like preparing images for display on the web, people must consider quality issues to make sure images display as best as possible in all possible browsers. Extremely subtle color variations may not be visible in all browsers, leading to decreased comprehension and enjoyment on the part of web users.

These days a printer creates a set of ‘plates’ which are used to press the image onto paper. There are initial costs involved in creating the plates and setting up the press. This means a litho job can be expensive and take time, but for large print runs it remains the most efficient process and also boasts superior quality and finish.

  1. Very happy to know this much about printers and printing. This blog is really helpful.

  2. Very happy to know this much about printers and printing. This blog is really helpful.

  3. Hello Your article is really very nice and useful. Thank you for your posting.

  4. In this article I look at each of the print processes.You also have a person hired to design your add and you also have the custom catalog printing company to produce doubled warranty for you.

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  6. Thank you for the information. It is very useful in case of choosing the best color printing process…

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