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October 17, 2013

A digital win

Call it nostalgia, kickin’ it old-skool or being a femme d’un certain age, but I prefer offset printing to digital. Which doesn’t mean I would universally recommend offset. Many different considerations determine which printing method I choose, such as desired quality, quantity, budget, timing, and size of the printed piece. But still—I dream of offset opportunities.

The Desire Map for Danielle LaPorte happened to be a digital occasion. With price-point needs and on-demand printing being of paramount importance, digital made complete sense.

If you want to really geek out on this, Wiki’s got your back. But my quickie about digital vs. offset goes like this: Offset is the process of applying layers of ink to paper with a roller specified per ink color–Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). The endless combinations of these four colors builds full-spectrum images and text. In offset you can also add spot colors from the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to the printing process.

A primary reason to choose digital over offset printing is the elimination of needing multiple pressmen and plates. Which means less setup and maintenance—resulting in cheaper pricing and a quicker turn around. However, and what keeps me firmly in the offset camp, the cost of saving money comes with the loss of some fine-image detail.

But again, some projects are better served when executed digitally. And when we do release a project to a vetted, quality digital printshop, I kinda hold my breath until I see the final product. With The Desire Map, we upped the worry ante by adding a complex emboss and a full-bleed gradient image into the mix. So when these babies finally arrived, sure I felt relief, but mostly I was excited.

What strikes me first is how successful the matte, soft touch cover turned out. It’s lush feel compliments the vibrant gradient. Then I notice the emboss on the front AND back covers—both nail the registration to a T. And finally, the weight and size of the book feels substantial, but because of the 1-color interior, not precious. Which is important, because this beautiful object does double time as a workbook.

Yes, I dream of offset. But love my digital babies too.