This Is Print
Everyone who has worked with color proofs knows that proofing systems are fundamentally flawed. A color proofer represents the output of the offset press.
Logic tells us the ideal proof comes from the same press as the final piece: a 'press proof'. Ideally, it would also be a sample piece—an actual bound book, folded collateral, or multi-piece direct mail vehicle—rather than a color swatch, mock-up, or comp.
The high cost of offset make-ready and short-run printing make on-press proofing virtually impossible on an offset press. But with digital color presses, it's not only possible … it's happening for high-quality applications. One example: the perfect-bound book displaying winning entries in the 2002 John Caples International Awards for direct marketing excellence.
Surprised? Then you probably haven't assessed digital color printing in the last six months. Somewhere Web-accessible digital printing and finishing capabilities exist that can overcome every objection you might have to printing showcase pieces in digital color.
Some say, "The quality isn't good enough." Have you seen the output from a Xerox DocuColor iGen3 Digital Production Press? It compares to offset press output as digital photos compare to those on film. Each technology has distinctive qualities that affect output, but the quality achieves professional standards in nearly every application.
And the iGen3 isn't the only digital output device that delivers. For example, the manager of a 'collaterals-on-demand' system at information storage leader StorageTek says 80% of his users see no difference in the output from his Xerox DocuColor 6060 Digital Color Press and offset printing.
Another objection is, "Our run lengths are too long to be economical on digital presses." Offset might always have a cost advantage on longer runs, but long runs can be produced cost-effectively by breaking them into smaller runs, printing on-demand over the life of the document.