The Survey Says: Digital Print Image Quality
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker on May 14th, 2014
If you haven’t checked out The Digital Print Survey conducted by What They Think and Unisource (March 2014), it’s a fascinating read. While the results are not projectible to the industry at large, the results are drawn from nearly 400 responses and provide a compelling look inside the shops of a representative cross-section of digital print providers.
To me, among the most fascinating sections are those relating to digital print quality. This was such a hot button for years, and if you ask PSPs today if the issue still exists, you’ll hear a resounding “No!” But that’s not what the data says. Do you agree with these results?
When asked, “In your opinion, in general, how does the output quality of your digital color production presses (HP Indigo, Xerox iGen, Xeikon, Nexpress) compare to the output quality of offset presses?”
- 53% said “about as good as offset”
- 8% said “slightly better than offset”
- 2% said “is much better than offset”
In addition, 86% said they were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the image quality coming off their presses.
However, only 67% were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with color matching and 63% were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with color consistency. Even fewer (43%) were satisfied with color matching.
When asked about their production challenges, “getting consistent print quality” was in the top three challenges, with 30% of respondents giving this answer. “Getting consistent color” came in fourth, with 29% of respondents giving this answer.
When asked which job elements reproduce “fine with no problems,” relatively low percentages of respondents agreed with the following:
- fine lines / detail (47%)
- solids (36%)
- gradients (22%)
- custom colors (18%)
What I take from this is that, in the end, printers are satisfied with the overall print quality on these presses, but especially when it comes to fine detail and color matching, it still takes a lot of work.
Would you agree with this data?