Digital vs. Offset
In offset, the file to be printed is first transferred to printing plates that create the document imprint on press. Offset is best suited for high quality, high volume printing of static documents and for pieces that have large image areas of solid ink coverage. In digital, prints are made directly from a computer file; there are no plates. Digital is fast and cost-effective for short-run jobs. And it’s the only way to use variable data.
Web-to-print refers to the process of using the Internet to manage and simplify a printing program. It can also involve online customization of print files or the use of a web-based library. This approach allows a company's ordering agents (field sales reps, franchisees, remote marketing offices, etc.) to place printing orders online through a company-controlled portal. It’s a fast, cost-effective way to reduce inventory hassles and decentralize logistics while centralizing brand control.
Variable Data Printing
Variable data printing (VDP) allows elements such as text and graphics to be changed from piece to piece in one print run on a digital press. This is done by merging information from a database (usually provided by the customer) with a document design. VDP enables you to produce personalized marketing, which can be as simple as a form letter where just the recipients’ names and addresses change on each letter, or as complex as a catalog with variable information and graphics tailored to each recipient’s interests.