Here at Chelmer Print we try not to bore our customers by talking about the different types of printing processes that can be used (although we are more than happy to discuss it with you if you are interested). In general our customers trust us to use the right process to get the best result for your job.
However, sometimes you do need to consider the process being used, and letterheads / letterheaded paper are a prime example.
There are two main methods for printing business stationery: digital and lithographic printing. You may often hear printers talking about digital versus litho (generally they will love one and hate the other, and their views are usually shaped by which one they have themselves). Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but should you really have to worry about that?
Now for the geeky technical bit. Digital print typically uses toner (just like an office laser printer … more on that later) whereas litho print uses ink. Both can produce great results. Digital print is great for smaller quantities (where the setup cost of a litho press would make the cost prohibitive, as it involves the need to make printing plates). For example if you just want 500 leaflets, or 50 brochures, then digital will fit the bill perfectly. However, this doesn’t apply to letterheads.
Why not we hear you ask. Well, unlike leaflets or brochures, or most other print come to think about it, letterheaded stationery usually gets printed on a second time. Typically you will run the paper through your own office printer. And this is where the office laser printer comes in. Digital printing presses use heat to fix (or fuse to use the jargon) the toner to the paper. In most circumstances this works fine and the toner will stay exactly where it should be. Unless, that is, you apply heat to the paper in which case it will un-fix itself (Dave is now searching for his dictionary to see if un-fix is a proper word). And office laser printers, just like their big brother (or sister) equivalent the digital printing press, use heat to fix toner to the page. So if you run digitally printed letterheaded paper through your laser printer there is a good chance the print that is already on it will degrade or smudge, or worse still come off inside your laser printer and cause damage.
If you only use inkjet printers in your office, this should not be a problem as inkjet printers typically don’t use the same levels of heat as a laser printer. Although this will vary across different types of printer.
However to be sure, we always use litho printing when producing your letterheads. This ensures that there will never be any problems with subsequent overprinting.
This has possibly been our most technical blog post to date and we hope you didn’t nod off half way through. Either way, please be assured you can trust us to produce the right print job for your requirements, using the right printing process.
Oh, and Dave has just come back with his dictionary. Un-fix is apparently not a proper word. Sorry about that.