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You have your design and your message in hand, you even had the color printing company selected. So what’s next? It’s now time for you to choose the color printing method you’ll use to get your work produced.

But it’s not about your knowledge of all the color printing methods available. It’s more than that. It’s about what would be the most appropriate for your special project. Will it be the offset litho this time, or a dye-sublimation would be more suitable to your ad?

Here are some of the general guidelines made by most color printers to help you come up with the most appropriate printing method for your project. Remember that there are no hard and fast rules; only suggestions that can help you fast track your choice process.

When you’re looking at personal use, hence you only need a low volume, it’s best that you also consider using your desktop inkjet and laser printers. When you really only require a few copies, you might want to try printing your stuff yourself and put off hiring your color printer for other bulk projects. It’s more practical this way. Either a color laser printer or an inkjet printer will do the job suitably.

When you want proofs for your color printing ad, you can either utilize, again, your desktop color laser printer or inkjet for the job. They’re very good at providing proofs especially for your text and general layout. But they may not be able to give you the precise color you expect. However, if you want a much higher resolution and digital proofs to boot, you might as well avail of color lasers, and dye-sublimation printing process. The last one is the process preferred by most graphic designers especially if you’re looking at creating that extra high end proofing.

For bulk desktop publishing in high volume, you would want to have offset lithography for those. This printing method is the most popular commercial color printing process when desktop publishing is involved; not to mention, it requires high volume mass production. That’s why most commercial printers use offset lithography for books, newsletters and brochures.

In addition, offset lithography is also best for glossy magazines, brochures and catalogs that require spot color and full color printing because of the pictures and photographs in it.

For business cards, letterheads, envelopes, labels, offset lithography is also the most commonly used printing method. You can add engraving for a more subtle letterhead, and thermography for that raised look in your material.

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