digital printing companies europeDigital Printing Companies in Europe

There are two kinds of digital printing companies in Europe - and we are not referring to the good or the bad, the pricey and the cheap - although these are distinctions that can be made...

Rather, we are referring to the digital printer that grew out of a copy shop compared with that which grew out of a traditional print shop.

A couple of decades ago there was a sudden blossoming of copy shops. They turned up on almost every street corner. Franchises and small independants. Copying anything from text books to menus, architectural plans to doctoral theses. And they made a good living. People, it seems, need to copy things.

As the technology advanced so the capabilites of their copy machines became ever more sophisticated. Suddenly, they could do more than make a copy - they could print in colour, from a pdf, to super A3 size, on card or even plastic. And they began to use processes that were borrowed from traditional offset printing.

Today I would challenge anyone to identify digital from offset printing without the use of a magnifying glass. They have come that far.

As a consequence, the copy shop is now a digital printer.

On the other side of the coin is the small offset printer. He was seeing his market being eroded with the advance of the digital print option. So eventually - often a few years later than he should have done - he decided to invest in a digital printing machine and tucked it away - almost as if ashamed - in a corner of his shop.

At this point then, the two have the same options. And, as a result, they can offer similar prices. But there is a massive difference that most people ignore.

Ink in the blood.

The printer has it - the copy shop (usually) does not.

The printer understands not only the process, but the passion. Not only the settings but the sensations. And there is a pride in the work that is missing with most copy jockeys.

Finishing is, perhaps, the most important part of the printing process. How jobs are guillotined, how laminates are handled, how foil embossing is applied. Scoring, folding, stapling... there is more to print than putting ink on paper.

We work with a number of digital printing companies in Europe - but they are all printers first.