Creative Instinct Blog – Branding & Marketing Tips for Busy Professionals

Informative articles and tips on marketing for small businesses.

Printing 101

For those of you who’d like a bit more education on the subject of printing, here is a brief “101” on the three main types:

What is INKJET printing?

Typically, inkjet printing forms images by spraying tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper. Small size and precision placement of the dots of ink produce very near photo-quality images. Most color desktop printers use an inkjet process. Inkjet printers are often used for proofing as well as signage applications. Inkjet printers can range in size from 8.5 inches to 20 feet or more!

Currently, inkjet printing is the primary printer technology for home, home offices, and many small businesses. Inkjet printers are inexpensive and produce good color output but can be slow. Best results are normally achieved when printing to specially coated inkjet or photo papers.

What is OFFSET printing?

Offset printing is a process that uses various rollers (or cylinders) to transfer ink to paper. Ink and water are transferred by rollers to a metal plate that contains an image. The image is then transferred to a rubber blanket which then transfers the image to paper. The image plate is created using a Computer-to-Plate (CtP) device which uses lasers to burn the image onto a metal plate. Offset printing is well-suited for high-volume projects (long run). Depending on the project and print quantity, offset printing can take up to two weeks for turnaround.

Side Note: The term offset refers to the fact that the image isn’t printed directly to the paper from the plates, but is offset or transferred to another surface that then makes contact with the paper.

What is DIGITAL printing?

Digital printing is a process that uses toner (a type of ink) which is transferred to a belt that transfers the toner to paper. The toner is then fused with heat to make it adhere. In digital printing, an image is sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDFs and those from graphic design software. This eliminates the need for a printing plate, which is used in offset printing, which can save money and time.

Digital printing is well suited for low volume projects (short runs). Without the need to create a plate, digital printing has brought about fast turnaround times and printing on demand. Instead of having to print large, pre-determined runs, requests can be made for as little as one print. While offset printing still often results in slightly better quality prints, digital methods have improved dramatically in recent years and provide a much lower cost. Digital printing usually has a faster turnaround than offset. It can take as few as 3-5 days, depending on the project and print quantity.

Side Note: Because each printed piece is created electronically, digital printers can be used for “variable data printing.” Variable data printing utilizes a data sheet to customize (or personalize) each printed piece. Variable data printing can be costly, but it is great for high-volume direct mail pieces, invitations, or any other project that requires customization per piece.

Have questions about printing for your next project? Need help with your branding, marketing or website design to attract more customers? Call Creative Instinct, it’s what we do. Email, or call 501-244-0573. Visit us online at


Why Hire A Graphic Designer?

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”
— Red Adair (1915-2004)

You might think that hiring a graphic designer is one more expense that you don’t need. Here’s five reasons why that type of thinking could lead you down the wrong path.

You know your job and do it well. A graphic designer is a professional who knows their field. They know about things like bleed and trap, type-safety and imposition so that you don’t have to. A graphic designer can turn your ideas into reality in a short time, leaving you free to do what you do best.

We’ve all seen business cards, postcards and brochures prepared on a home printer and the impression they leave. It’s obvious they were not created by a designer. Professionally designed graphics and materials will convey an image to your customers of expertise that they can trust.

Every day we’re bombarded by thousands of advertisements all vying for our attention. Your best defense against becoming a part of the noise is through great design that captures your audience’s attention. And the best way to ensure you get that eye-catching design is to hire a graphic designer.

It makes sense that doing things yourself will save you money. Unfortunately, in the world of printing that sometimes isn’t the case. Unless your file is prepared precisely the way it needs to be for printing, you may find that it costs more to prepare the file for printing than it would to simply hire a designer to do things from the start.

Some people would have you believe that with Photoshop they can do anything. And the truth is that you can do anything with Photoshop – poorly. No single program can handle all the jobs needed to create quality materials and a designer knows how to put each program to it’s best use for quality results every time.

With over 10 years of experience in graphic design, Creative Instinct has helped many businesses both small and large. We have the knowledge and experience to make your projects a success. We pride ourselves on creating strong design solutions for all your projects in a time frame that fits your schedule. By keeping up on all the latest techniques and equipment, we make sure that your professional image is always at its best!

Need help with your branding, marketing or website design to attract more customers? Call Creative Instinct, it’s what we do. Email, or call 501-244-0573. Visit us online at