Online printing is an exciting but sometimes complex arena where things like different press checks, proofs and materials can make the process more complex than you initially prepared for. However, despite the complexity it can be extremely rewarding and has a lot of utility for a commercial business that needs to produce marketing material on a mass scale.

If you don’t know all the facts, you could end up spending your money unwisely and ending up with a poor product. The last thing you need to trust a supplier only to find out they’ve let you down when it gets to crunch time and people are barking at you for results.

Let’s take a closer look at some facts about online printing.


So, what is it?

Online printing is the process by which computers control and give instructions to printers. The obvious benefits of this process are that you have a higher degree of accuracy and control over the output since you can use a computer to edit things on the fly.


Paper quality

When requesting online printing, you need to ensure that you are using paper that’s certified for use with the machine you have access to. Sometimes a provider might be happy to use a non-certified type of paper, but that’s something that’s up to them if they want to take the risk or not.


Output quality


The process has come a long way over the years, and now can produce results nearly identical to the traditional offset alternative.



Online printing is much simpler and more time-efficient than the traditional offset method as it has no needs for mixing inks or for plates to be used. This means the batch can be delivered faster, which is great news for business leaders who need to meet deadlines and demonstrate they have chosen a reliable supplier.



Online printing has no set-up fees that come with it and no minimum quantity for orders. Some units are even able to complete inline finishing tasks such as wire binding and saddle stitch which can speed up the completion of orders to an even greater extent.


Variable data

The nature of online printing allows for algorithmic instructions to be used so as to easily print lots of unique items quickly, such as wedding invitations where each recipient has, they own special card. This is great for marketing material across multiple countries where the main part of the flyers is identical but have slightly different details in the fine print.


Special effects

Some types of units will be able to use special effects, such as red invisible ink or white ink. Gloss and varnish effects are also available including raised ink and embossing.


Good for the environment

Online printing is great for a lot of environmental reasons as well. Because there are no films, plates, photos chemical or pre-press stages it means there’s overall less wastage. The process is also entirely waterless meaning you don’t waste water doing it.


Great in a tricky situation

Another bonus of using online printing is that you are able to use the computer to alter things in the order on the fly. This can be a lifesaver if you find out at the last minute you need 100 more copies or if you notice a typo halfway through the batch.