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Printing goes personal, the digital way

Digital printing gives you the option to customise the matter to be printed to suit your taste, reports Ruchi Hajela.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2007 22:05 IST
Ruchi Hajela

Think about this: You receive a New Year calendar as a gift and chances are high that you will junk it away in a drawer, if not a store, as just another thing. But what if this calendar had your name or a picture on each page? You will probably keep it right up there on your table where you can see it often.

This is what digital printing can do for you: It gives you the option to customise the matter to be printed to suit your taste. The analogy is simple. The same way a picture taken from a digital camera allows you to modify it, a print taken through a digital printer can be personalised.

Print on demand

For decades now, offset printing has dominated the industry, but that works great when there are huge volumes of copies to be printed. Digital printing enables smaller runs of copies, more flexibility, and greater personalization, all at comparably lower costs. It is not just for paper, but other media as well. A coffee mug or T-shirt, for instance.

There is more to digital printing than just personalisation, say industry experts.

“People want to purchase things that reflect their personality and they want them faster,” says Puneet Chadha, Director, Graphics Imaging Business, in the imaging and printing group of HP India Sales Private Limited, a unit of Hewlett-Packard Co., the global leader in printers.

A much faster turnaround time is yet another advantage of digital printing. While traditional offset printing process is more often than not a weeklong process, digital printing is almost instant.

You can walk into a shop and get a T-Shirt or your mug printed within half an hour for anywhere between Rs 80 and Rs 150, not counting the cost of the object being printed upon. Soon, you will see more of this print on demand getting into the organised retail market like malls. “We have a presence in two malls in Bangalore at present and will be coming up with more by next year,” Alok Bhardwaj, Vice President, Canon India Private Limited, told Hindustan Times.

The number game

Though players like Xerox, Canon and HP that have their digital printing equipment in the market claim that anything up to 500 copies can be printed digitally, the printers say that anything above 150-200 copies would come out to be more cost effective on an offset printer. “Offset printing is cost effective if you go in for larger print runs, say 1,000 copies or more. But for shorter runs, digital printing is better,” says Arshad Siddiqui, Vice President Marketing, IPP, a printing service company.

On an offset printer, one can only print in multiples of thousands, and there is a fixed cost attached unlike digital printing where cost depends on purely the number of copies printed.

“It costs around Rs 350 per 1000 business cards on a 300 GSM paper via offset printing whereas 100 digitally printed business cards cost around Rs 150,” informs Rakesh Arora, printer and owner of OK Art Studio, located in Delhi’s Connaught Place. Moreover, printing in multiples of a thousand leads to a lot of wastage. For instance, if you want 5,500 copies of a book, you will have to shell out money for 6,000 copies.