This term encompasses a wide range of techniques and technologies but broadly speaking ’digital’ refers to the use of computer technology to be directly responsible for what is printed onto a page, rather than in Litho where this is fixed using pre-etched plates to transfer the ink onto the page. The main types of digital printing styles used are ink jet printers and laser printers. Laser printers don’t use the laser to draw directly onto the paper, rather they draw an image onto an electrostatic drum a line at a time rather like the scan lines on a television. Where the laser hits the drum that part or ‘pixel’ is statically charged. As that part of the drum passes through the ink or ‘toner’ it sticks to that pixel and then gets pressed onto the page. This is significantly faster than ink jet printing, although not as fast as lithographic.
Ink jet printing is generally used for large format printing. Various types of different inks can be used including water and solvent based inks, also UV curable. This process works by firing tiny droplets of ink out of microscopic nozzles as the print head goes back and forth. An almost endless print can be achieved in this way. Perfect for banners, wallpaper and sign related printing.