Digital printing: a deep dive into the technology (how to print stickers DIY)

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Are you searching for a new way to print your own stickers? Or maybe you’re curious to understand how stickers and labels are digitally printed?


Whatever your reason for looking, we are here to take a deep dive into digital printing, the different types of digital printers available on the market, and how they work.

Why digital printing?

Over the last 15 years, digital printing has become hugely popular as a leading sticker printing method.


Advances in printhead technology, in particular, have led to significant increases in speed and the quality of print resolution and color.


For example, today, digital printers can print a resolution of 2400 DPI (dots per inch) – that’s damn near photo quality! It means the quality of stickers and labels today from the digital printer is incredible! To find awesome devices, search multifunction photocopiers Perth to learn more.


So what are the different types of digital printers?

White format inkjet

Wide-format inkjet printers are the most popular way of printing stickers. This image shows an example of a wide format digital printer.

The reason they are so popular is that they are relatively low cost. For example, you can buy a good wide format printer for just $15,000. So you can see they’re quite a low cost to get started.


A wide format printer works by feeding printed media through the machine, and the inkjet head scans from left to right, dropping ink on every pass.


Thousands of tiny droplets of ink get fired from the printhead, where they hit the surface of the media to form an image.


This is an ingenious way of using such a small print head to print such a large area. However, it has its drawbacks. Because both the head and the media are moving, it can cause a drop in quality if calibration isn’t perfect.


Also, because the ink goes directly from the printhead to the media, there is little time for the ink to wet out before it dries, so the print can appear slightly grainy.


So what’s the alternative?

HP Indigo digital

Here is an image of an HP press.



As you can see, this looks very different from the wide-format digital printer. However, they are both classed as digital printers.


The HP Indigo is what’s known as a narrow web press. This means that the print media’s width is relatively narrow at just 330 mm.


But it can print along the web at very high speeds, up to about 40 meters per minute.


Also, the resolution and print quality are much better than wide format digital printers because the head isn’t moving, and only the media is moving.


The Indigo works by firing all the colors onto a rubber blanket using a static charge. That rubber blanket gives the ink time to wet out before pressing against the media transferring the image.


This causes a super high resolution beautiful digital print that is the best on the market today in 2022, creating some of the most beautiful custom stickers, as seen here.

Final thoughts on digital printers

If you are looking at getting into the printing game, your budget and ambition will play a big role in deciding which type of machine you’re likely to choose.


If you have any more questions about digital printing, please comment below.


We’ve also come across this handy Glossary, which is excellent for learning lots of the jargon around printing – 


Thanks for reading!