Digital printing was invented in the 1940s, but the very first Inkjet printers weren’t available to the public until 40 years later. Hewlett Packard (HP) was the first to market printers for home use, though they weren’t as good as the ones we are used to using today.
Early HP printers would get easily clogged with dried ink, so the solution was to make the process completely digital instead. In 1993, Benny Landa, a micrographics researcher, developed a completely revolutionary new ink called ElectroInk®. His company, Indigo, used this ink for their digital printers and the world never looked back. Digital printing was game-changing since it didn’t need a lot of chemicals or printing plates. Plus, the cost was significantly lower and the production time was faster.
There are a number of different digital printing techniques, with the most popular being direct digital and digital transfer. This full colour printing process allows HiGift to personalise items such as promotional stress toys or branded bags and umbrellas, using an almost unlimited range of colours, shades and gradients (and even photographs, in some cases.) Digital printing is ideal for lower runs when you need to print in full colour as other routes can be prohibitive.
Direct digital printing uses modern inkjet technology to fire microscopic droplets of ink directly onto the surface of the product. In digital transfer printing, images are printed onto a specially formulated film and then heat transferred from the film to the product surface. This method allows photographic-quality full-colour reproduction and is especially useful for wrapping prints around curved edges.
Digital printing encapsulates digital full colour epoxy doming (which is great for items such as promotional sweet tubs), as well as dye sublimation printing, which transfers unique sublimation dyes onto special paper with a liquid gel ink through a piezoelectric print head. This branding method is particularly useful for the personalisation of ceramic mugs, where you will need to use a full colour process logo.
- Minimum setup time;
- Suitable for relatively low quantities, such as 2,000 and under;
- Reaching the same colour range as traditional offset presses;
- Suitable for substrates;
- Quick turnaround time.
- Print is less durable;
- Colour white cannot usually be reproduced within the print;
- Because of fixed pricing, bulk printing does not offer scaled cost reductions.