What is digital printing?


CORR Digital is a large format digital printing company. But what exactly does that mean?

Large format means that our printers can accommodate jobs larger than 18″ across.

Digital Printing means we can send a proofed image straight to print immediately, and slight changes or variations between printing runs are easy.

Why choose digital?

Believe it or not, digital printing as we know it today is actually the newest form of printing. Developed in 1991, modern techniques for digital printing are even 10 years younger than 3D printing, which was developed in 1981. As a printing method, digital is most often compared to traditional offset printing (printing exact duplicates of a physical template) because they are used for similar applications. Each method has its own strengths and drawbacks.

"It is never a question of which type of printing is better, the question is which type is best for the job you are trying to accomplish."

- Bryan Fisher, CORR Digital Director of Operations

Digital Inkjet printing takes the artwork on a computer, processes it into a print file, and applies the ink for the artwork directly to the surface of the substrate.  This allows for printing on a variety of porous and nonporous substrates, such as vinyl, wood, falconboard, coroplast, ACM, acrylic, banners, etc. Digital printing gives great flexibility when variable images/text are needed within a single print job. For example, digital printing allows a run of 1000 signs, each one with a different message, to be processed all at once.  This method is perfect for serving the print-on-demand, quick turnaround customer.

Offset printing takes an image and breaks it down into separate color components, and each of those components gets its own plate loaded into the printer. This is great for large runs of a non-variable nature, like letterhead and brochures. “Digital offset printing” is a term sometimes used to describe offset presses that are more automated with respect to the set-up process, but still carry the same limitations as manual offset printing.

Infographic showing the strengths of digital printing as compared to traditional offset printing

You'll want to go digital for your prints if...

  1. You have a relatively small print order. Digital printing is most efficient for runs of 1-1000 prints. In fact, some companies that specialize in offset printing use digital printers for small runs.
  2. You need your prints done fast. Digital printing is faster than traditional printing because no master plates need to be made before printing can begin.
  3. You need each print to be personalized. Because digital print doesn’t work from master plates, changes can be made between prints. This makes digital printing perfect for things like diplomas and direct mailers.
  4. You’re looking for an eco-friendly option. Digital printing is generally less wasteful because the process requires no pre-press materials and little to no water.
  5. You’re looking to print on an unusual material. With digital printing, ink generally adheres to the surface of the substrate instead of relying on being absorbed. This means that digital printing works on porous and non-porous surfaces alike.
  6. Everything needs to be exactly true-to-proof. In digital printing, the proof image is the printing template. Nothing changes between proof and print.

That being said, digital printing may not be right for every project. We care about the quality of the finished products our customers receive, so we wouldn’t recommend digital for any projects where it wouldn’t yield the best results.

You may want to consider offset printing if...

  1. You have a very large print order. Offset printing is sometimes more efficient for runs of 1,000+ prints.
  2. Your items require no customization. Offset printing is designed to print exact duplicates over and over again from a single printing plate.
  3. Your order is not time-sensitive. Because it requires a lot of pre-press work, offset printing is not ideal for quick projects, but can be a cost-effective option for some projects that are not under deadline pressure.
  4. Exact color-matching and fine image detail are very important. In digital printing, exact color matching can sometimes be difficult, and some fine image quality is typically lost as well. If very fine details are of the essence for your project, offset printing may be an option to look into.

What is large format printing, anyway?

Large format printing (sometimes called wide format printing) is a category of digital printing that encompasses any prints between 18″ and 120″ in size. Essentially, anything poster-sized or larger. If a print is larger than 120″, it can also be called “grand format”.

Without large format printing, whether analog or digital, production of most architectural blueprints, banners, posters, trade show graphics, non-paint murals, backlit displays, and wallpapers would be difficult or impossible.

Large format prints can be made on two different kinds of devices: roll printers, which are for flexible substrates such as vinyl, and flatbed printers, which are for rigid substrates that can lay flat on a table, (anything from paper, foam board, cardboard, and PVC to less conventional printed materials like wood and metal).

What makes CORR Digital different from other digital printers?

At CORR Digital, we use multiples of both kinds of printers, as well as UV curing, routing, and laminating machines, to get everything printed, sealed, and cut perfectly for our customers. Our roll printers can print up to 60″ x 480″, and our flatbed printers can print up to 96″ x 120″.

CORR Digital is different from the average digital print shop because we can handle both small prints (individual items like labels, coasters, etc.) and giant prints. Large format printing is our specialty, which means we’re your one-stop print shop for large banners, signs, and graphic vinyl wraps and decals.


Tell us about the details of your next project and we’ll help you figure out if digital printing is right for you.

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