Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at info@printindustry.com.

Blog Articles for PrintIndustry.com

Archive for December, 2021

How to Get to the Best Book Printing Services Online?

Friday, December 31st, 2021

Getting a book printed is tedious, especially when this is your first time! Whether you are a professional book author or trying to get, your first copies printed, finding the best book printing services can be challenging, especially when you don’t have the right knowledge to choose one. This blog post has got some of the best tips to help you reach your goal efficiently. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in already!

Don’t Depend on a Single Quote

The first and the most important thing while looking for the best book printing service provider is never to depend on one single quote. Maybe one of your family members recommended you a person who can help you print books but, this person should not be the only one to rely on. You should do your own research, and if that seems tiring, all you have to do is find out the best quote providing services and find your answers right there!

Make Sure They Use Quality Printing Equipment

For those who are wondering why does printing equipment matters to us. Before you make the final decision of appointing a company to print your books, you need to make sure that they provide you with quality content. It is a must to check on the inks they use and what type of printing machines they have. If those are good quality, we are sure the readers will have more fun reading them.

The One You Finalize Should Have Good Communication Skills

Communication skills matter a lot, especially when you are getting something important done. Always try to make sure and have a word with the printers in previous. Asking them questions and making sure they understand your needs is important. If they don’t understand and deliver the wrong word to their workers, you might lose a lot of money. So, if you wish to play safe, make sure you do proper research before making an informed decision.

Ensure to Select the One With a Good Reputation

While you have a list of quotes with you, it can get very easy to figure out which one is the best service provider. All you have to do is visit their website and check for the reviews and ratings. We are sure this is the first and the most important step to know about a company’s reputation as customers always speak the truth. To get to know who is the best service provider, you can also have a word with the previous clients and how they like the services. We are sure if you follow the norms correctly, you will be the desired printing company easily.

Now that you know research plays a crucial part in selecting the best book printing services, why don’t you ease up your work by asking for multiple quotes online? We make sure that you meet the best printers at a nominal cost! So, what are you waiting for? Get your quotes and start shortlisting to find out the best available book printing service onl

Why You Should Hire a Printing Company For Your Business’ Marketing Needs

Friday, December 31st, 2021

With today’s technological advancements, many people believe they can accomplish almost anything for themselves. However, performing certain duties from home may not always be the ideal option. Especially, If your organization’s image and reputation are on the line, you should consider outsourcing printing to a company that specializes in this field.

Despite the growing popularity of online marketing strategies, the brochure remains a critical component of a company’s marketing strategy. Brochures are among the most cost-effective ways to network your company, build your brand, and show off some creativity that is sometimes missed in digital marketing.

The introduction of digital printing allows businesses to rapidly create a simple brochure and have it printed for a low cost and in a short amount of time. However, these costs are reduced when businesses purchase in bulk for conferences and large tradeshows.

You can easily establish the level of brand awareness you want for your business by hiring a service that offers online brochure printing or offline, depending on your location and convenience.

Benefits That Hiring a Printing Company Offers:

Ensuring that a design is positioned and printed correctly is vital for your business to make the best possible impression on both present and potential customers. Using the services of a professional printer will expose you to a variety of resources and possibilities that will help you stand out from your competition, among several other advantages such as:

  1. It is a Much Better Alternative 

When you decide to hire the services of a professional printing company, it opens you up to a world of possibilities to add a professional touch to your printed materials. These companies have knowledge and expertise in graphic design and will be able to enhance your company’s branding.

Using an in house team or doing it yourself is an option, but it can lead to you wasting valuable time, money, and resources due to the training and recruitment process.

  1. Helps You Save on Various Costs

Replacing ink cartridges is also expensive, indicating another incentive to choose a local printing company. Not only will you save money on ink, but you will also save valuable time. You can use the time to focus on other more important elements of your company.

In this competitive world, time is money, so why waste it by doing your own printing?

  1. Offers You Quick and Effective Service

Printing is the main business of professional printing companies, so they’ll take care of the company’s needs; they will be able to service you whether you need brochures, business cards, or other such printed materials or even a unique speciality item. The ideal printing service will provide a speedy and efficient service.

The above-mentioned points should help you understand the benefits that a professional printing service can offer your business. If you wish to hire, printing services contact us for price quotes and other crucial information.

Commercial Printing: Reviewing Your Printing Bills

Monday, December 27th, 2021

Photo purchased from … www.depositphotos.com

It’s time to pay the piper. Your commercial printing vendor has printed and bound your job and delivered it as requested. And you have just received the invoice via email. How do you confirm its accuracy to make sure you’re not overpaying?

In this light, a custom printing client of mine just produced 50 sets of colored chin cards. She usually produces a small color-swatch print book bound on a screw-and-post assembly to help clients choose colors for cosmetics and clothing based on their complexion and hair color.

These are a bit like small PMS color books. As a complementary item for her product line, this time she produced 8.5” x 11” laminated, colored cards based on the same proprietary color system. A client will hold selected cards under her chin to see how the colors on the cards either complement or clash with her complexion.

Each card has a die-cut half circle on the long side. A client’s chin goes in the die cut, and this allows the colors to come up a bit higher on either side of her face.

So from a printer’s point of view, these are 8.5” x 11” cards on 14 pt. stock, laminated on both sides, die cut on one of the 11” sides, collated but not shrink wrapped, 32 cards per set, 50 sets total, delivered to my client’s house (i.e., inside delivery, not dock-to-dock delivery).

My Client’s Overall Payment Schedule

Since Covid-19, things have tightened up a bit for the commercial printing suppliers with whom I work. Not all clients had been paying in a timely manner, so the following payment schedule has been in effect with most of my printers for almost two years for clients who do not have credit terms (i.e., have not been vetted for credit accounts).

Most printers want 50 percent payment up front (with the submission of art files) and 50 percent payment prior to their shipping the completed jobs to my clients. Some of the book printers have even begun to require 110 percent total payment prior to shipping to cover overage (from 3 percent to 10 percent of the total required press run). This is acceptable in the commercial printing trade to allow for spoilage during post-press bindery work.

Splitting the bill in this way can be confusing or frustrating for clients who don’t expect it. (Some printers even split payment into three parts, with 50 percent of the total due with art file submission, 50 percent due prior to shipping the job to the client, and a final bill to account for overs, corrections, and any shipping costs unforeseen in the initial bid.)

I can understand my clients’ frustration. However, I also see that Covid-19 has disrupted supply chains, and I know that commercial printing vendors must buy paper and other materials up front before a job can be printed. For them to stay in business, they must manage cash flow and make sure they receive all payment for all materials, manufacturing, and shipping.

My understanding the printer’s point of view helps me explain the new requirements to clients who don’t want to go through a credit check to establish credit terms (and since most of my clients are freelancers or proprietors of small businesses, most do pay in cash).

So this is the overall payment process.

My Client’s First and Second Invoice

To determine the accuracy of my client’s invoice, the first thing I did upon its receipt was compare the bill to the specifications I had initially drafted for the fashion color chin cards. (I had already matched my spec sheet to the printer’s estimate before my client had submitted the art files over a month ago.) My spec sheet and the printer’s estimate are invaluable tools in reviewing the final invoices for accuracy.

First I checked all job specifications, including size, paper, lamination, press work (ink colors and sides of the paper to be printed), kind of proof requested, and die-cutting requirements. All of this matched my expectations and also matched the estimate and the initial invoice. This was the “base price,” which was congruent with the “base quote.”

The second, follow-up bill included detailed shipping information and prices charged by the shipping carrier (at cost, not marked up). The prices were consistent with prior jobs of this size shipped a comparable distance. (I did not just assume the shipping cost was ok; I compared it to prior, similar jobs.)

The bill also included overs. The printer charged for two extra sets of chin cards, which is four percent of the 50 copies ordered. (This is very reasonable, since 10 percent is acceptable industry standard as the upper limit. Keep in mind that 10 percent unders are also acceptable, so in your own print buying work, if you need “no fewer than” a certain number, you will have to accept a higher potential (often negotiable) overage. Overage also occurs in simpler jobs because it’s not possible to stop an offset press on a dime. (It’s much easier to control overage on a digital press.)

What didn’t look right was an additional $55.00 for die cutting. Here’s why. My client had already printed this job. In the process she had paid $300+ for the die creation, which did not show up in the cost of the reprint. That’s good. However, if the $55.00 had been for make-ready on the actual die cutting of this job (as opposed to the die-making), it should have been noted in the original estimate. And it had not been so noted. Therefore, when I queried the print customer sales rep, she said I should have my client underpay by that amount.

The bill also included a 3 percent Visa convenience charge (separately, on both the original estimated amount and the final, supplemental charges). This is the norm. Some printers will accept electronic funds transfers from banks (avoiding this charge). Some will not.

Finally, the invoice included charges for two author’s alterations billed at $45.00 per hour. This is very reasonable. Depending on the location of the printer (and the cost of living at that location), hourly prices for client corrections can range upwards from $70.00 to $100.00. The best way my clients can avoid such costs is by carefully checking the job before its submission. However, things do happen. Everyone is human.

Once my client had checked the actual printed copies (i.e., reviewed random samples in the various cartons delivered) and approved the final bill (with the change in the die-cutting price I had flagged), it was time to “pay the piper.” She did so by Visa, as noted before. So all told she had to pay two separate bills. As noted before, other clients may have paid three. My client chose to pay the whole quoted price (exclusive of overs, author’s alterations, and shipping) up front and then pay the final, follow-up bill reflecting the overage, corrections, and shipping charges.

As an additional point of information, the second bill prominently noted the amount my client had already paid up front posted against the overall cost and reflecting a final balance (of about $300.00 on the overall $2,000.00+ job cost).

What You Should Look For

All of this is probably painfully boring to ponder. However, it is part of the process of buying commercial printing. It does you a disservice to assume everything on the bill is complete or correct. So it’s smart to look for these things:

  1. Check the accuracy of the initial quotation compared to your own spec sheet and the commercial printing vendor’s initial estimate (the base price). It is wise to develop your own spec sheet over time, tweaking it as necessary for one project or another, and one vendor or another. Complex jobs like print books will usually require a more complex spec sheet, as will jobs requiring complex finishing work or having complex shipping requirements.
  2. Check shipping specs and compare costs to similar projects with similar carton weights and destinations. If your initial bid notes “FOB printer’s dock,” your responsibility and costs begin prior to actual shipping, so ask about this when you get the initial job estimate.
  3. Note the reasonable percentage of overage/underage.
  4. Note any additions for author’s alterations. Although you pay for your mistakes, it is reasonable for you to expect the printer to pay for his.
  5. Check the math, particularly on book printing estimates and bills. Everyone is human, and I’ve received estimates with spreadsheets that had been inaccurately compiled, yielding accurate unit costs but inaccurate line items and therefore inaccurate total costs. Assume nothing. Check everything.

Custom Printing: Flexography (A Modern Version of Letterpress)

Monday, December 13th, 2021

Photo purchased from … www.depositphotos.com

Every so often I like to take the time to study in depth a commercial printing technology of which I have only a cursory knowledge: i.e., something new. Flexography fits nicely into this category.

For most of the last two decades I had known the flexographic process was good for food packaging. And during the decade in which my fiancee and I installed standees in movie theaters, I had learned that all of the flat black standee components (those not printed on gloss litho paper laminated to the cardboard) were flexo printed.

Back in the 1990’s when I was an art director, I had seen flexo-printed labels, and I could point out the slightly mottled or uneven solids on the matte litho label paper. At the time, these were less crisp than offset printed products. I also had known that flexography used rubber relief plates (i.e., unlike the planographic, or flat, printing plates used for offset lithography).

But when I was doing some reading recently, I learned the process was essentially modern-day letterpress, so I became intrigued. It touched my love of fine art, fine craftsmanship, and history as it relates to commercial printing.

This is what I learned.

The Technology

Flexography is similar to letterpress because it uses relief plates. The image areas are raised above the plate. When the plates are inked, only the raised areas print. Unlike most letterpress, however, the plates are rubber instead of metal, and the press is rotary (the rubber plates are wrapped around sleeves that are attached to the press rollers) rather than flatbed (straight up and down like most if not all letterpress equipment). In contrast, offset printing depends on the fact that oil-based ink and water stay separate from one another, so the image area and non-image area of an offset plate can be on the same flat surface. (Therefore, the process is described as “planographic”—or flat–rather than as “relief” like letterpress, or as “intaglio”–or recessed like engraving.)

Furthermore, flexography can print on almost any substrate, such as the plastic sheeting used to make bags containing bread at the grocery store. If you tried to print these on even a web offset press that would hold the plastic sheet under tension, you’d still have a mess. But you can print such plastic sheeting, the cardboard used for milk cartons, and other food packaging, or any number of other things including metallic foils, with flexography.

Back in the 1990’s, when I was an art director, flexography was not great (i.e., accurate or precise) for 4-color work and halftones, and even the labels my staff and I printed were a little blotchy. But this is no longer the case. Major improvements have been made to the inks, the press equipment, and the photopolymer plates since the ‘90s (Wikipedia). This now allows for control over halftones and gradients and incorporates ways to mitigate the substantially higher than usual (compared to offset) dot gain of flexography.

The Process

Ink rollers (also known as fountain rollers) distribute the water-based ink (unlike the oil-based ink of offset lithography) across anilox rollers, which are coated with fine, laser-etched wells (similar to gravure) that hold only a fixed amount of ink. Excess ink is removed with a doctor blade (again, like gravure). The anilox rollers apply a controlled amount of ink to the raised image areas of the photopolymer or rubber plates affixed to the sleeves on the plate rollers, and the plate rollers apply the ink to the substrate. (That is, this differs from offset printing, which prints on the press blanket first and then transfers the image from the blanket to the substrate.) These image or plate rollers are backed up by impression rollers that keep the substrate (which travels between the image rollers and impression rollers) flat and tight against the plates.

To back up just slightly, the rubber plates used in this process are imaged using either negatives (UV light hardens the image areas, and the remaining coating can be washed away) or direct-laser engraving technology (similar to the process used to burn offset custom printing plates). There is a third option that uses a negative of the image area and then actually makes two separate molds (yielding one raised printing plate). These printing plates are then taped to the sleeves wrapped around the plate rollers.

If conventional inks are used for the process, hot air (i.e, from dryers) is blown across the surface of the printed substrate to dry the ink. If UV inks are used, then UV light is used to instantly cure and solidify the ink on the surface of the custom printing stock (i.e., the ink doesn’t seep into the substrate).

The substrate usually travels from one web roll (i.e., so it can be under tension) through the press (through presumably four or more inking units), through the dryer, and on to a rewinding web roll so the printed product can always be under tension and therefore flat.

Finally, post-press operations can occur (cutting printed milk carton flats and then assembling and gluing them into completed boxes, for instance).

A wide variety of inks can be used. These include solvent inks, water-based inks, UV-curing inks, EB or electron-beam curing inks, and two-part chemically reactive inks that cure as the chemicals interact (Wikipedia).

What this means is that you can use a wide variety of substrates, including non-porous materials like plastic sheeting and metallic foils, both of which would not work on an offset lithographic press. Granted, even with the advances since the 1990’s, the are various levels of quality. The lower end is good for flat colors (like the black backgrounds for cardboard movie standees) and lettering (also appropriate for some corrugated board printing). The next level up would include more detailed corrugated board printing. And the highest level of quality would be appropriate for custom label printing (up to four-color process work matching the quality of offset commercial printing).

According to Wikipedia, here’s a list of potential substrates: “plastic, foil, acetate film, brown paper, and other materials used in packaging” (Wikipedia). This is good for corrugated board, shopping bags, “food and hygiene bags and sacks, milk and beverage cartons, flexible plastics, self-adhesive labels, disposable cups and containers, envelopes, and wallpaper” (Wikipedia). Interestingly enough, the process has improved so much that some newspapers prefer flexo to offset. Flexo inks are thinner than offset inks (i.e., “of lower viscosity”) (Wikipedia), so they dry faster, and this speeds up the overall manufacturing process and saves money.

Plus, the overall process yields web rolls of printed stock, which can then be unwound, slit, and processed, to create the bags, cartons, and other packaging products. (Therefore, the post-press work can be done very efficiently.)

The Takeaway

So this is my challenge for you, one that I undertake regularly as well. When you are in the grocery store, be mindful of the packaging. This is a huge and lucrative arena of commercial printing work. Notice the kind of design work (the creative) applied to the boxes of frozen food, the bags of bread, even the corrugated cartons from which the stocking clerks are removing products to put up on the shelves.

Consider the permeability of some of the packaging materials (like the bread bags). Notice that the artwork is detailed but not as detailed as offset commercial printing work. Look for the registration marks used to keep the colors aligned. (Registration can be challenging in flexography.) And keep in mind that all of the inks have to be food grade, acceptable to the FDA for being in contact with products that will be consumed.

A simple walk through the grocery store will open your mind to a whole new world of product packaging produced with technology derived from the raised lettering of the flatbed letterpresses Gutenberg might have used in the 1400’s.

5 Reasons Why Print Marketing is Still Valid Today!

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

For people who think that digital marketing is the only way to promote and bring your business on top, you are wrong! Traditional marketing techniques that use brochures, business cards and flyer printing services are still in demand. If you want your company to excel, then using both marketing types is the best way. Still not convinced? Here are quick reasons why print marketing is still in fashion.

Benefits of Using an Online Service to Find the Best Printing Solution for Your Next Project

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

The printing cost of material  marketing and advertising keeps on increasing as every year passes. Entrepreneurs and business establishments forare trying to cut down on company expenditure. A common way to trim down expenses is to use an online service like free printing websites to find the ideal printing professional that will provide you with high-quality print output while being affordable.

Advancements in terms of accessibility and technology in the printing industry ensure that businesses have a plethora of options where they can find high-quality print jobs at reasonable pricing. Apart from cost-effectiveness, they also offer you the convenience of getting printing jobs done by outsourcing them.

So, here are some of the benefits that hiring a printing services provider online offer you:

  1. Convenience of Ordering Materials or a Printing Job from Practically Anywhere

Online services offer you the comfort of ordering from anywhere you want to. It doesn’t matter if you are at home or at your workplace; you can instantly connect with printing service providers and get in touch with their customer service department. Another benefit of using an online service to find the best printing service provider is that you won’t have to waste time and energy travelling to physical stores and comparing costs.

  1. Track the Progress of Your Printing Order

There are multiple online services that provide you with a platform where you can track your printing orders. Additionally, they employ client service representatives who can help you with the details and ensure simple and easy methods through which you can communicate any modifications you want them to make in your printing order.

  1. Offers Various Templates and Printing Solutions Tailored to Your Specific Needs

They provide you with platforms like free printing websites, where you can find a variety of templates for advertising material such as business cards, brochures, flyers, and other marketing tools. If you want your printing material to have a personal touch, you can choose from these countless templates and build the layout and design for the printing order, which will then be outsourced to the online printing service provider.

  1. Provides Flexibility in Scheduling

Running a business is not an easy operation; you have countless tasks to complete and meetings to attend. By using online printing services, you can upload templates, designs, artwork and get delivery of your order right at your workplace. This way, you don’t waste any time waiting for a response from the service provider or making arrangements to pick up your publications from their offices.

If you require high-quality print output, then online printing service providers are the way to go; they will take care of every part of the print order- from the printing process to the secure delivery of your order. And the above-mentioned benefits should help you make an informed decision. Contact us to get quote estimates on printing services for your next printing project.

Custom Printing: How Do They Print Ceramic Tiles?

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Photo purchased from … www.depositphotos.com

A prospective client recently asked about inkjetting ceramic tiles (or, more specifically, about inkjetting tiles using UV ink). Since I was a little rusty on the process, I went to school on the subject of ceramic tile printing. This is what I found.

For one thing, this is a big niche within the commercial printing industry. A great number of the large ceramic tile printing suppliers are in Italy, interestingly enough. And due to recent advances in digital inkjet printing, it is now easier than ever to produce intricate, beautifully printed tiles for your floor, wall, or just about anywhere else.

A Survey of Tile-Printing Technologies

Prior to the advent of digital commercial printing, tiles were decorated in one of three ways: screen printing, rotocolor (printing with a series of rollers with patterns on their surfaces), and appliques.

To put this in context, let’s consider the types of designs printed on the tiles. For the most part they were simulations of other materials. For example, tile designers would print stone patterns, such as the natural surface patterns of marble, on the ceramic tile blanks. To a good extent, this was because a ceramic tile floor would be much less expensive to prepare and install than flooring made from the actual stone.

Here are some of the pre-digital custom printing options in more detail:

Screen Printing

First a tile designer would create a pattern (presumably a simple design). Then she or he would attach a block-out film to a nylon (or even metal) screen suspended from a wooden or metal frame. Those areas that would print, the designer would cut away from the film leaving the non-printing areas of the stencil intact.

The screen frame would then be attached to a base using hinges that would allow the screen to be raised or lowered. The designer would position the unprinted tile on the base, lower the screen over the tile, and load printing ink across the width of the frame, horizontally, at the very top of the screen. Then, using a rubber squeegie, she or he would drag the ink downward across the substrate (the tile). Ink would go through the screen where the stencil material had been removed, printing the tile. And ink would be blocked where the stencil material was intact.

(As years passed and the technology was developed, photographic techniques were used to create this stencil–to avoid hand-cutting the film–but the process was essentially the same. Individual tiles, or groups of tiles, were printed with ink forced through a stencil on a screen.)

A designer had to repeat these steps for each color. This process required a lot of set-up work, so it was best suited for longer print runs.

Rotocolor

If you watch online videos of rotocolor work (which started to be popular in the 1990s), you’ll see that it looks a lot like offset commercial printing (flat material being transported under a series of rollers). However, this is a relief process in which a series of rubber rollers lays down the inked pattern on the tiles as they pass under the rollers on a conveyor belt. This became the preferred method for decorating tiles when compared to screen printing. Among other things, it allowed for more variety and less image repetition from tile to tile.

White-Toner Printer Transfers

Other vendors printed powdered toner on vinyl, which could then be attached to the tile substrate. However, any areas the designers didn’t want to print (to allow the actual tile to show through), they had to “weed.” Essentially this means they had to pick away the vinyl material using a sharp tool, like a dental pick.

Digital Dye Sublimation

This actually fits into the digital realm. It is relatively new, compared to the centuries-old technique of custom screen printing. For this process, the design or pattern is printed via inkjet technology onto specially treated paper using specially treated inks. Then heat turns the solid ink directly into a gas, which is transferred onto the tile substrate using heat and pressure. Unfortunately, sublimation is most effective only on white or lighter colored tile blanks. It is also only meant for printing on smaller substrates (when compared to other tile-decoration processes).

The Overall Assessment

In almost all of these cases there are limitations, including:

    1. The repeatability of the pattern (how often the same pattern shows up on the tiles).

 

    1. How large the printable area can be.

 

    1. How time- and labor-intensive the make-ready process will be.

 

  1. The detail of the printable image (simple patterns vs. photographic detail).

If you’re producing a wall-sized mural, these can be important concerns to address.

Other important considerations pertain to durability. If you print on floor tiles and foot traffic wears away the pigment you have applied, the process is a failure. Or if sunlight and time cause the printed image to fade, that’s a disaster. Ideally, you need to use true ceramic pigment that can withstand the firing of the kiln (1600+ degrees Fahrenheit) along with any covering glazes. Only in this way can you be sure the designs on your fireplace tiles, bathroom shower tiles, or floor tiles will last a long time and tolerate sun, moisture, and foot traffic.

Inkjet Printing: Increasingly the Best Alternative

In all of my research I found a common thread. Due to the advances over the past couple of decades, inkjet printing has become the preferred technology for decorating ceramic tiles.

    1. Unlike screen printing, the make-ready is minimal. You don’t need to set up and clean up screens for multiple colors.

 

    1. You can achieve photographic detail. This sets inkjet custom printing apart from all of the other options, given the achievable resolution (and hence detail). This is even beneficial when reproducing the nuances of natural stone patterns.

 

    1. Unlike many of the other options, you can print all the way to the edges of the tile blank.

 

    1. Unlike rotocolor and custom screen printing, you don’t need to worry about images repeating too often. In fact, you can vary all images infinitely.

 

    1. You don’t need to worry about size (an issue with all of the preceding technologies, including sublimation). You can print the tiles on a grand-format flatbed press, which will allow for much larger images.

 

    1. Due to the almost negligible set-up for the digital inkjet process, there’s no need to print long runs of tiles and then store them. This reduces the need for inventory and for the storage of rollers, silk screens, and similar supplies.

 

    1. Unlike sublimation, you can successfully print on darker tiles as well as lighter ones.

 

  1. Inkjet printing will seep into the porous surface of the tile. It will reach both the hills and valleys of the flat tile blank. Other technologies, such as print-and-cut vinyl, will only float above the uneven surface of the tile blank.

The UV Inkjet Tile-Printing Option

UV inkjet printing adds one other benefit to the process. Unlike conventional custom printing inks (including inkjet printing inks), in which ink dries through evaporation or oxidation (often using heat), UV inkjet inks “cure” instantly when exposed to UV light. This means they will sit up on the surface of both porous and non-porous surfaces. This makes the colors more vibrant. UV inks can also be applied in thicker layers than conventional inks.

The Takeaway

I would still suggest the following if you want to print on tiles:

    1. Research the processes I’ve described. There’s a wealth of information online.

 

    1. Contact flooring and/or tile stores. Ask about all of the available options for tile decoration.

 

    1. Especially ask about the durability of the custom printing processes. Will printing on the pre-fired tile blocks be adequate, or will you need to decorate the tiles with heat resistant inks that will withstand the high temperature of the firing kiln?

 

    1. Will you need some kind of protective coating over the printed image on the tiles?

 

  1. Tell the tile printers how you will use the tiles. Will they need to tolerate foot traffic, or will they be used on the walls? Will they need to withstand moisture (as in a shower)?

No one will understand the benefits, limitations, costs, and uses of printed tiles better than tile shops that focus exclusively on this arena of home décor.

Archives

Recent Posts

Categories


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!


Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved