A person's hand rests on top of a large stack of assorted documents with colorful tabs, illustrating the high output typical of production print services in an office environment with natural light.

Production Print Fundamentals: Your Introduction to In-House Printing

In simple words, production print is the process of creating printing materials. However, this process is much more complex than just designing, printing, and correctly folding a document. Many companies worldwide rely on printing companies to satisfy their commercial printing needs, while others invest in their own production printers to have complete control over the process.

Whether your company trusts its printing needs to a third-party company or handles its production print in-house, understanding the printing process can help make it successful. In this article, we’ll explore what production print is and every step of the process.

What Is a Production Printer?

Production printers are high-quality printers designed to produce all kinds of commercial printing materials, such as brochures, marketing communications, booklets, and more. Having a production printer in your company gives you complete control over the timing and cost of your printing needs. You won’t have to worry about meeting the printing deadlines or unexpected production delays.

Additionally, some companies handle their commercial printing in-house to keep their documents confidential. In comparison to standard office printers, these devices guarantee higher image quality.

There are three kinds of production printers.

  • Laser production printers use powder particles, known as toners, to produce high-quality images. When the printing process begins, the toner powder heats up and fuses with the paper. These printers are considered the best alternative for marketing communications.
  • Unlike laser production printers, which use toners, inkjet printers use liquid ink to produce high-quality printing materials. These printers are cost-effective for companies that print a large volume of simple documents, such as letters or bills. While laser printers can produce high-quality marketing communications, they are significantly more expensive.
  • Lithographic printers require a more complex printing process and are more challenging to set up. During the process, the image you want to print is transferred to a place covered with water and oil-based ink. These printers are commonly used to produce brochures and catalogs.

Production Print Process

Understanding the printing process is fundamental to achieving high-quality printing results. Production print consists of three stages: prepress, press, and post-press.

No. 1 – Prepress

The prepress process of a production print takes place on a computer. In this stage, graphic designers use photography, graphic arts, fonts, and image assembly to produce the file that will eventually be printed. During the prepress, many companies perform color tests to make sure the printing material looks exactly like the digital design.

The last and most crucial part of the process includes setting the file’s format. This could be a PDF or an application file like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.

No. 2 – Press

The press stage is where the actual printing occurs. The file has been submitted to the printer, and the design you’ve perfected will be transferred to the material you’ve chosen. Production printers are heavy-duty pieces of equipment designed to print on heavyweight papers, standard paper stock, vellum, synthetics, cardstock, or even linen.

One of the most essential parts of the press process is verifying that everything is correctly aligned, as shifts in the colors can completely ruin the entire production.

No. 3 – Post Press

If you’ve made it to the post-press stage, it means you’ve successfully printed your documents. During this stage, the finishing touches are added to the printed material. These may include.

  • Varnishing or laminating the printed material to give it a glossy and aesthetic look
  • In the case of booklets or catalogs production, the pages will be automatically arranged in the correct order
  • The printed material is cut and folded according to the specifications provided to the printer

Benefits of In-House Production Print

You may think bringing your production print in-house to your company isn’t the wisest decision. For one, production printers are large pieces of machinery. You’ll need ample space to accommodate the printer and additional space to store your printed documents. In addition to the investment in the printer itself, you’ll have to consider the electrical expenses associated with having a production printer running for long periods of time.

Despite the few drawbacks of acquiring a production printer, bringing your production print to your company has many benefits.

Saves Money

When you rely on a printer company to handle your commercial printing needs, you’ll probably ask for more copies than you actually need. This is standard practice because you have to take into account the printing and delivery time. In addition, you don’t want to fall short once the distribution has started. But in calculating the overall expense, you’ll need to consider the extra cost of documents you won’t eventually use.

If you have your own production print operation, you can print a pre-determined number of copies but also print more if needed during the distribution process.

Along with saving money, having in-house production print will reduce paper waste. In 2019, the United States produced 110 million tons of paper and cardboard waste. Reducing the number of printed materials can promote a greener office environment.

Saves Time

Printing companies receive a high volume of printing jobs daily, so you can’t ask for a last-minute production print. You also have to respect the printer’s deadlines and consider the delivery time before making a printing order. With a production printer in-house, you won’t have to rush the designer or wait for your prints to be delivered. The process is as easy as walking to your printer and starting the production.

High-Quality Printing

While most production printers work the same way, the result may vary from one printer to the next. If you want to keep high-quality standards for your marketing communications, you can rely on your printer to maintain quality consistency.

Marketing Communications In-House

Companies generally use production print to create branding material such as brochures, personal cards, booklets, and catalogs. While many printing companies offer excellent printing services, having a production printer in your company is much more beneficial. With your printer, you’ll have complete control over your printed documents while saving time and money.

If you want to keep your company’s production print quality standards high, trust Stargel to provide maintenance and efficient technical support. If you’re in the Houston area, don’t hesitate to contact Stargel.