At Digaloo, the digital presses are running at full speed to print books, invitations, catalogues, annual reports and mock-ups of the latest in package design.
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In 2002, Jannes Dahlgren and his partners took a chance on a technology that was still in its infancy and started a commercial printing company using strictly digital processes. In 2008 that company, Digaloo, received the Swedish Gasellföretag prize for being one of the country’s fastest-growing enterprises.
Today, Digaloo processes an average of 25 to 40 different digital print orders a day, and initial scepticism over the quality and reliability of digital printing has given way to much more acceptance as machines become more stable.
“There is such a small gap now between traditional offset printing and digital printing,” says Dahlgren, Digaloo’s CEO. “And in some cases, such as when using uncoated paper, digital printing gives a better result.” He says this is due to improved contrast, which can be achieved through digital printing. At the same time, Dahlgren points out that different digital technologies deliver varying results. “With the ElectroInk technique we can do all kinds of finishing processes such as foiling and uv coating,” he says. “In the past the quality wasn’t good enough, but today it is.”
"With the electroink technique we can do all kinds of finishing processes such as foiling and UV coating."
Digital printing, which requires no setting up of plates or drying, can meet tight deadlines, he says. “Sometimes we have just 24 hours to produce a catalogue, and that includes the total process with printing, binding – everything. With a pdf file on hand, the presses can be running in three minutes.”
Digaloo prints on a wide range of substrates such as paper, paperboard, plastic and labels between 70 and 440 gsm.
These are some of the messages that Dahlgren would like to get across to designers, marketing people and other buyers, whose knowledge of printing he perceives as lower today due to an increased focus on the Web and social media. “The biggest challenge for the industry is to be better at telling art directors and others what is possible so they can choose in the jungle of different substrates, finishings and everything else.”
Art directors and marketing people need to know their brand, its colours and what it should communicate, and printers can help with the rest, he says. “Is it environmental friendliness that should come across? Is it a feeling of luxury? This is where we can make adjustments just by changing the paper, the surface coating or another detail.”
"This is a perfect example of how a digitally printed product saved the customer time and money, while retaining high quality."
Dahlgren reaches for an elegant white booklet printed with the prestigious Nobel Prize logo in gold foil. It contains the names and seating plan of the 1,300 guests attending the Nobel dinner in 2013. Digaloo had about 48 hours to produce and bind 2,500 books which guests could take home as souvenirs. “We used one colour (blue Pantone) that reduced the print time from about 12 to four hours,” he explains. “Without the need for plate changes, adjustments could be made to the seating plan at the last minute.”
The Nobel Prize seating plan is one of more than 20 components that make up the printed communication around the Nobel Prize award ceremonies. “The booklet is branded with the exclusive gold medal logo of the Nobel Prize, and its simple classical design communicates the excellence of the organisation and the academic award,” says Mix Hagman Eller, key account manager at Brand Family, the production agency for the Nobel Foundation.
The production is all about scheduling, being flexible for late changes and keeping quality high, says Mix (Michael) Hagman Eller, key account manager at Brand Family, the production agency for the Nobel Foundation. “We have used a variety of production methods for many years, and each has its own benefits and limitations,” Eller says. “The great thing about this particular method [hp Indigo ElectroInk] is that it offers pure Pantone colours in a digital environment, where we before only could print in four-colour separation.”
This success has resulted in a commitment to produce the 2014 seating plan and a whole range of other products for the Nobel Prize festivities on December 10, Dahlgren says. “This is a perfect example of how we convert a traditionally printed product into a digitally printed one and save the customer time and money, while retaining high quality.”
TEXT: CARI SIMMONS PHOTO: ANNA BERGKVIST & JANN LIPKA