Offset printers produce much better output then their digital counterparts, but are much more complex—and, therefore, expensive—to operate. To put things in perspective, it’s not unusual for one of these machines to require hundreds of wasted sheets of paper to “make ready,” that is, to uniformly ink up all the plates so that they can be used for printing the final product.
To make offset printing more affordable, providers sometimes collect several jobs from different clients together onto a single, large sheet design—a process known as gang-run printing. This can give you access to a better quality print job at a reasonable price, but at the cost of longer wait times.
Embrace the process
Despite its many quirks and the sometimes odd mashing together of old and new technologies, the world of professional printing is easier to navigate now than ever, particularly given the way the Internet has simplified the process. Mac users are particularly lucky when it comes to dealing with professional printers, because OS X and its apps can handle all the right file formats with ease.
Armed with a little knowledge, going from digital file to fine printed product should be easy and inexpensive; with a little planning, the look of crisp, fresh ink on paper is just a few clicks away.
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