InfoTrends recently released the report Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing. The purpose of this blog post is to provide guidance on when to use digital printing for special effects vs. using screen printing.
Full Disclosure: special effects screen printing is our primary business. However, we believe there is a place for using digital printing special effects and that they are not mutually exclusive.
Report Excerpt & Findings
According to InfoTrends: “Advances in production digital printing toners and inks are creating new opportunities to capture high value
pages that require more than traditional CMYK-based colors. The powerful combination of special effects (white, clear, textures, metallic,
fluorescents, etc.) with the unique capabilities of digital printing (personalized and on-demand production) is opening up new applications
traditionally produced with offset presses and enabling printers to add value to jobs and have a competitive differentiation,” stated Jim Hamilton, Group Director at InfoTrends.
Below are a few findings in the report that apply to both digital and screen printed special effects:
- Many print service providers are interested in these systems, but are trying to understand how to market, price, and sell value-added special effects
- Most graphic designers and print buyers are unaware that digital print has these capabilities, and some may even be unaware of special effects printing in general – regardless of which technology is used
- OEMs and system vendors are focusing on how best to allocate R&D investments and accelerate market adoption for digital print enhancement
How Digital & Screen Printing Work Together
Historically, we’ve enhanced digital 4-color printing with special effects screen printing. While digital printing does offer some special effects capability, it is limited in terms of both breadth (gloss, matte, metallics) and quality (thickness of UV coatings).
Thus, we’ve found digital is more of an entry-level special effects solution that is most useful to enhance a printed piece when the enhancement is not key to the piece’s effectiveness. It’s also possible to use digital printing for more basic special effects and to finish a piece with screen printing on a spot basis.