What is Digital Printing?

We’ve written a lot about digital printing in the past with our blogs on event signs, banners, and vehicle wraps. But we’ve never really delved into what digital printing actually is! There are lots of different kinds of printing methods out there and it can be confusing to understand what printing method works best for your needs. Digital printing is a quick way to print anything created on a digital platform. The term, “Digital printing” refers to the various methods of printing a digital-based image directly to media. Just like traditional offset printing methods, digital printing relies on the precise placement of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black colors to create high-quality prints. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are mostly referred to as CMYK. Black is K because it stands for the “knock-out” color.

digital print wall mural

Types of Digital Printing

The two general, and most popular, types of digital printing are laser and ink-jet. In short, these printers read and process digital image files and transfer the digital image to a physical image by laying down ink or toner. Laser printers use powdered CMYK toner that is then burned onto the printing substrate which helps with the longevity and quality of the print. Ink-jet printers have CMYK print heads in a carriage that moves back and forth and sprays tiny dots of ink onto the printing substrate. Large format printing is dominated by ink-jet printers. Once the ink is laid down onto the substrate, the ink needs to be cured and off-gassed to ensure longevity.

Full Van Wrap

Large Format Digital Printing Applications

Digital printing allows for a user to print any full-color, digital-based, image onto their desired substrate. Substrates can be paper, adhesive vinyl, fabric, canvas, scrim banner, wood, aluminum, coroplast, etc. Substrates all have different uses and applications. Adhesive vinyl is utilized for vehicle wraps, vehicle decals, and wall murals. Adhesive vinyl can also be applied to a rigid substrate, like aluminum, but applying several large tiles to substrate can be difficult. This is where a flatbed printer comes into the picture. Flatbed printing allows for a user to print directly to rigid substrate without having to laboriously apply adhesive vinyl to rigid sign panels.

Hallway Wall Graphics

Hallway Wall Graphics

Digital Printing Uses in Advertising

In the advertising and signage industry, digital printing is vitally important and heavily utilized. Outdoor banners, yard signs, vehicle and trailer wraps, site signs, and a ton of other sign products are created with large format digital printers. Digital printing is perfect for advertising purposes because advertising signs need to be done as fast as possible in the cheapest way possible!