As I wrote in part one of our “Designing for Digital” series, one of our most important responsibilities is helping customers use digital inkjet printing to drive a higher return on their marketing investment. One of the things that excites me most about this new technology and the development work we’re doing with Canon Solutions America is the opportunity to apply so much of what we know about conventional printing to this platform that just 18 months ago was being called “disruptive.”
In his workshop with IWCO Direct, John Moore gave a very insightful, simple statement. “Digital printing is not magic.” He explained that it is still based on established print industry standards. We use these standards to communicate expectations and desired results. For example, basic color theory is applied using International Color Consortium (ICC) color management. ICC color management is more commonly referred to as “profiles.”
Wikipedia aptly describes an ICC profile as “a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, or a color space, according to standards promulgated by the International Color Consortium (ICC). Profiles describe the color attributes of a particular device or viewing requirement by defining a mapping between the device source or target color space and a profile connection space (PCS).”
In support of John’s statement that “digital printing is not magic,” he reminded our workshop participants that we are already skilled in using the recommended tools for preparing files for digital printing. These tools include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and QuarkXPress. In other words, there is no need to purchase and learn new software. It is important, however, to learn some new techniques.
For example, the recommended DPI for images is 250 to 300 while the recommended DPI for logos and line art is 600. Vector format (EPS) is preferred for logos and line art. Color space is also different for images and logos. RGB color space is recommended for images while CMYK color space should be used for logos.
Digital printing is not magic, but the response to its use in direct mail can seem to be otherworldly. When we optimize your format, offer and data for digital inkjet production, it may seem like we waved a magic wand to achieve the resulting lift in response. While we’d like you to think we’re magicians, we’re simply using our experience and knowledge to link the art of design with the science of data and technology. That experience and knowledge keeps your use of digital inkjet printing from turning into a reenactment of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene from Fantasia. Our magic is reality, not sorcery.
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