How should your next job be printed?

Print. It’s one of those areas where tiny little errors can cause massive disruption, set schedules right back and cost large sums of money to put things right. Not to mention the stress!

And it seems that there’s more chance of it happening these days as many companies are cutting costs by going direct to printers themselves, rather than through an advertising or design agency or a print management company.

For the best results, we would always recommend that companies go through a third party who can take care of print management, which is a vital part of the whole production and print process.

Obviously, we’d love you to choose Samphire for the creative and design work, and for its’ successful transformation into high quality print.

But if you do want to go direct to a printer, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand the basics and can make a smart decision about where to place your next print job. You’ll also know if a printer is being straight with you or attempting to baffle you with jargon and gobbledygook.

Deciding where to have your next job printed depends on what you want printing and the number of items you need printing. Whether it’s a company brochure, business cards, promotional posters, leaflets or flyers, there are loads of options. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose,

The two main printing methods are offset litho and digital and they work in different ways:

Offset litho – usually called litho printing

This process uses metal plates which have to be individually made for each job. There are costs involved in creating the plates and setting up the press, which means that a litho job can be expensive and take time. But for large print runs, it’s still the most efficient process and gives superb print quality and finish.

A full colour litho press usually has at least four units for cyan, magenta, yellow and black – the CMYK colours. There may also be a fifth or six unit for a varnish and a spot colour. Offset litho printing offers:

  • Lower cost and fast turnaround on long print runs
  • Consistently high quality with sharp images and fonts
  • Special colours like Pantones can be matched, and fluorescent and metallic inks can be used
  • More choice of paper types and stocks with very few restrictions on paper finishes


Digital printing

Digital printers on the other hand do not use plates which means set up costs can be quicker than litho. They can handle some heavier papers and cards but are nowhere near as flexible as litho printing presses. Digital is popular because it is instant and jobs can be turned around in a day or two. However, digital press sheets sizes are much smaller than litho options, restricting page layout sizes somewhat.

These days, top-of-the-range digital printers offer very high quality – almost the same as litho. But not all print companies have these state-of-the-art digital printers. Digital printing offers:

  • Lower cost and speed on shorter print runs
  • Personalisation – including name and address or even a personalised photo
  • Larger sheets – digital print is perfect for large format posters, banners and car signage


As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of printing and a good deal of cross-over between the two. Many jobs could be printed successfully using either method. Which is why it can be confusing deciding what to do and who to go to for the best results.

So if you’re still not sure what to do about print for your next job, give us a call and we’d be happy to have a chat and answer any questions you have.