Political Direct Mail Printing—Ultimate Guide Part 3

by The Campaign Workshop

The Ultimate guide to Political Printing

Political Direct Mail Printing: Everything You Were Afraid to Ask —Part 3

Political direct mail printing part 3: In previous installments of this series on political direct mail printing we covered finding a political direct mail printer, managing schedules and specifying paper. Today, we’re going to get technical and talk about presses. We couldn’t have political direct mail printing without presses to get the job done, so let’s examine the differences and uses for digital and offset printing.

Digital vs. Offset Political Printing

Today there are a lot of different options to get ink on paper and each one fits a unique niche.  Knowing your options and when they are best used will save you time and money in the long run.

For political direct mail printing, we use two primary processes: digital and offset printing. Digital presses create the printed page by electronically combining red, green and blue (RGB) ink to create the colors. That ink adheres to a specially treated sheet of paper and that ink sits on top of the paper to create the image. Because of this, the paper for printing digitally is slightly different than the paper for traditional offset printing. Digital printing is best used for small quantity jobs (anything less than approximately 2,500 pieces is a good rule of thumb), and jobs that require a fast turnaround.

Offset printing, the process that has been used for over a century and the one most commonly used for political direct mail printing, uses transparent, water-based ink and layers the four colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) on paper to create all the colors of the rainbow. These water-based inks are absorbed into the paper, to varying degrees depending on whether you’re using coated or uncoated papers, rather than merely sitting on top of the paper’s surface. Offset printing yields the best price and quality for larger quantity jobs, anything over 2,500-5,000 pieces will be best on an offset press.

Here is a great tutorial about digital and offset printing that has lots of helpful information if you want to learn more about it. Have more questions about political direct mail printing? Check out the rest of our series on political direct mail printing here:

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