Offset Printing or Digital Printing?

If you’ve ever wondered why your printer ran your print job offset vs. digitally (or vice versa), here is a quick snap shot on the two different processes and their strengths and limitations.

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Offset Printing: The offset printing process begins with an image being burned/etched onto a plate. Once on press, this image is transferred to a rubber blanket through a roller system and then onto a sheet of paper. The term “offset” means the ink is not transferred right onto the paper. The advantage of offset printing is the ability to print in large quantities in a cost effective way. The more you print, the less price it is per piece. Also, it offers the use of custom inks, Pantone, metallic, or fluorescent colors with superiors print quality. The initial offset set-up takes longer and is more expensive, but as the quantity increases, the cost per piece comes down dramatically. 

Digital Printing: There are no plates used in the digital printing process. Images are digitally transferred by rollers/drums using toner or some liquid ink (think laser printer/copier). An advantage of digital printing is the ability to print a smaller quantity to the exact number of pieces needed, like a run of 10 or 100. This keeps the cost of materials (paper,toner) down, so there is less waste. The set-up costs are generally lower for digital printing compared to offset.  A unique advantage that digital has over offset is that it can run variable data. This means that each printed piece can have a different name, address, or number. Offset printing cannot give you this option. The print quality has also improved immensely over the years, making the digital process more comparable with offset.

Offset and digital both have their place in the printing market. Each have specific benefits depending on the requirements of your printing project. If you are in need of a large quantity of printed pieces or a specific Pantone color, offset would be the best choice. On the other hand, if turnaround and the need for minimum quantities are what you need, then digital would be the way to go.

Direct Mail Still Gets Results

Direct mail is proving to be a profitable way to tell future customers about your unique products and services.

After analyzing data, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email. Overall, the DMA found that direct mail’s response rate is actually 10 to 30 times what it is for digital. Direct mail continues to be a viable marketing option. You control who receives your message, how many people you want to reach, and when it is delivered. People/customers respond positively to receiving and handling tangible objects.

Mailing lists or databases allow marketers to be more selective and personalized in determining the best target audience for their message or product. For example, you can reach households with specific income levels, professions, hobbies, male/female, married/single, etc. Also, direct mail is trackable, allowing you to monitor the results and the ROI on your marketing piece.

Direct mail can include a wide variety of marketing materials – postcards, newsletters, brochures, catalogs, etc. Large and small companies are both using direct mail because they know it is one of the most streamlines and profitable ways to reach new and existing customers.

A few things to keep in mind when producing/designing a direct mail piece:

  • Try to engage your potential customers with an exciting offer using effective art/design work for your products.
  • Make sure you are offering a product or service that can benefit your customer and your direct mail piece directly shows how.
  • Have a deadline or expiration date for your offer, prompting potential customers to act quickly.
  • Make your offer stand out in the printed piece. Do not allow it to become lost in unneeded clutter while your customer is reading.
  • Keep the message simple for potential customers by limiting conditions, restrictions, and disclaimers.
  • Make sure it is easy for the customer to contact you by including a phone number and email address.

If you have an idea for or questions about a potential direct mail marketing campaign, please contact us at Wells Print and Digital. We look forward to working with you on your next direct mail project.

Augment Your Printing

As technologies in communication progress, the ways that print is used continue to change. In the wake of QR Codes, interactive print is taking a giant leap into Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is a process by which publishers are allowed to tie print directly to video, images, and interactive calls-to-action. Examples include YouTube videos, 3-D imaging, photo slide shows, and prompts to connect by phone, email, or social media.

Augmented Reality (AR) apps utilize a device’s camera to associate registered photos and graphics with an augmented experience. Once a device reads an AR graphic, it may display video, sound, or provide an interactive 3D display. There are many free AR reader apps available for Android and Apple devices. Layar and Aurasma seem to be two of the more popular and easy-to-use apps. Once the app is downloaded, it is able to view Augmented Reality on a printed piece or screen.

Augmented Reality has many practical uses as well as creative ones. The auto industry uses AR in instructional booklets to assist the reader with complicated repairs by utilizing 3-D images and video. Magazines use it to enhance articles. For instance, action photos in sports magazines come alive on a device when they are scanned. Home decor magazines can create interactive 3D images showing how furniture will look in the reader’s own living room, kitchen, or bath.

Possibilities range from simple links and videos to complex product displays with online purchasing options. Statistics show upward trends in almost all forms of mobile communication. Augmented Reality will change the way printing is viewed for years to come.

Welcome to the Family, Ryobi

Wells would like to announce its newest addition to the press room: a Ryobi 3302M. The Ryobi is a small 2-color offeset press that can handle a 12″ x 18″ press sheet as well as 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. It is considered a “true 2-color press” due to the separately functioning ink units. the Ryobi offers lower pricing on shorter one, two, and three color print runs.


“With the shift in buying patterns to lower quantity orders, the Ryobi will allow us to stay competitive in this emerging market,” says co-owner, Tim Schorr.

The Ryobi also has an add-on envelope feeder. This will allow Wells to turn around two and three color envelopes a bit faster than our previous press permitted. Business stationary projects like letterhead, business cards, and #10 envelopes are ideal for this press.

-Dan Dettman