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Difference between preparing for Digital and Litho presses

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I was in touch with a print company recently re. a job to be printed short run on a digital press, and, later, long run on a litho press. The company said to send in the same PDF files as their software would closely match the two presses.

On receiving the digital printed proofs and the cromalin printed proofs (processed through GMG colorserver software), the digital is 'bright', whereas the litho is 'rich' (darker, warmer). Both are very nice. The print shop said some adjustment can be done to the litho during print, but it would be hard to make the digital print look like the litho.

I've seen in passing on some forums the question 'is it for digital or litho'? So I guess there's a difference in the preparation of files for both print mediums.

Assuming everything is done correctly (CMYK profile, soft-proofing, etc.) for the litho, what needs to be done for the digital to make the outcome as close as possible?

Thanks in advance,


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Hi Damien,

Yes, the cromalin proof prints are very close to my soft-proofing, but the digital proof prints are brighter - same source PDF from me.  The print shop says digital presses always print brighter than litho.  I've heard another print shop say that too.  I would have thought the presses would be calibrated to give a 'very similar' result, but I guess not?

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You know, I also create designs for CD covers.  When I started sending off to print shops for samples of their print work, I got back from various places colours and shades that weren't even close to what I had sent.  With perseverance, I finally found a printer in Poland (I'm in Ireland), that faithfully sent me back in print what I had sent them as a PDF.  Same files, no adjustment.

What I've found consistently is that print shops don't offer any specific details at all to customers so that the PDFs supplied will print properly.  You have to prize the information out of them.  I only wonder how a print shop can stay in business at all that way.

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