Innovation is key to setting your brand apart from the competition

As a business owner or marketing manager, you might be thinking about how to best market your brand.

With new digital printing technologies, there are innovative options to displaying your brand on products and through marketing tools like wide-format window and floor graphics, banners and even vehicle wraps for your company fleet.

I’m not talking about the commercial printing of your paper products like brochures, mailers and handouts. I’m talking about 2-D (or flat) digital printing which now offers some of the most innovative capabilities in the printing industry, far greater than they were even 15 years ago.

Not long ago, if you wanted to put your logo on a piece of equipment, it was likely printed using analog or offset printing processes — which required tooling, set up sheets and multiple setups.

Analog printing was the norm because most people thought digital printing was expensive. It had a slower output, wasn’t very durable in outdoor environments, offered a limited number of materials to print upon and was a lower quality product. With the printing machines available today, that cannot be further from the truth.

While analog printing processes are still practical for some projects, digital printing in 2016 has distinct advantages. Just a few of these include lower set-up costs and the ability to test and evaluate your product on several different substrate materials.

Digital printing starts with high-resolution, electronic art files instead of tooling, so scratch that upfront set-up cost.

Additionally, the first sheet off the press can be used as an actual press proof. If the design or color needs to be altered at any point, it’s an easy design change instead of having to create new tooling or set-up sheets.

Because the press proof allows you to evaluate your prototype on the substrate you’re printing on, you can easily test how it will work in your application before you sign off on the proof. Advances in variable digital printing allows for your message to be personalized and whether you’re printing 1,000 individual or identical messages, the cost stays the same.

It used to be that digital printing was only good for low quantity runs since the breakeven point between digital and analog was low. Today that point has increased dramatically, so just in time inventory is a real cost-saver.

With digital, print shops don’t have to run large volumes to offer the best price, resulting in less warehouse space, reduced waste and a smaller initial investment.

Another benefit to digital printing is that it offers more creative options for product identification. The four-color digital process provides better color consistency, resulting in better image quality and greater visual impact on the final product.

It’s a big, bright, beautiful world out there due to the vast technical advances in digital printing. Brainstorm with your graphics’ provider to improve the branding of your products and set your company apart from your competitors.

Dolf Kahle is CEO at Visual Marking Systems Inc.