Burt’s Top Tips for Inspiring Digital Brilliance

In this faster, more economical and “waste not,want not” world, digital printing is an enticing alternative to offset lithography printing.

But how do you achieve the “wow factor”on a digital press? Designers should ask the right questions. And printers should follow the
Best Practices for your digital device.

Above and beyond, lean on this Best Uncoated Results Toolkit (a.k.a. burt) to bust myths and discover simple tips for creating an exceptional digital product.

Order your copy of burt today or download digital burt here.


Digital Printing


Burt’s Top Tips

As a leader in paper technology, Domtar works closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to continue to improve quality
and expand creative possibilities. In fact, through advancements in print technology, paper innovation and
pre-press digital software, you can achieve crisp, vivid images with near offset results.

  • Use variable imagery and data to make a highly effective, personal connection with your customers.
  • Reduce inventory and environmental waste typically associated with high offset quantities and overruns.
  • Test early and often without the “Suits” breathing down your neck.

Because digital printing does not require a plate or engraved cylinder, you can tinker with color and designs easily and affordably.

Why Choose Digital?

It's Good for Your Image.

Digital printing on uncoated paper allows you to incorporate richness and texture into your short-run projects. The substrate is bulkier and stiffer than coated papers, giving your pieces more substance and weight. And on press, the exposed fibers provide an excellent surface for toner adhesion. Imagery is sharp and color is brilliant.

Digital printing also allows you to make easy adjustments and corrections during the proofing process, which makes project management and tweaking images a simple task.

Once your project goes to press, the technology is designed to stay on color and quality for the extent of the run and for reprints at a later date. And, when specifying the perfect paper for your device and design, keep in mind that uncoated freesheet is available at a higher brightness than premium coated products.

As North America’s largest manufacturer of uncoated paper, Domtar offers a full line of reliable digital uncoated products in our trusted Cougar Digital, Lynx Digital and Husky Digital brand names.

Both Cougar and Lynx are members of Domtar’s EarthChoice® family of environmentally responsible papers which are Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified™. The quality is exceptional.

And, just as important to the outcome of your job, the mill precisely cuts all our digital papers to specifications for the individual OEMs. If mailing, we offer papers that meet postal regulations at a lower sheet weight, translating into reductions in postage.

It’s everything burt looks for in a paper. And more.

Paper Selection

Uncoated papers offer a soft, approachable tone that is becoming increasingly popular with designers and businesses looking to project a sustainable, fiscally responsible image. As an innovator in papermaking technology, Domtar has a full line of optimized products guaranteed to perform across a wide platform of digital devices.

Therefore, before you select a paper, it is extremely important to talk to your printer or OEM. Digital machines have different requirements that can greatly impact the printing of your piece.

  • Select a paper with a smooth or super smooth finish. If a textured paper is desired, check with your printer as device capabilities vary.
  • Weight should fit the device’s specifications. Some require a minimum of 24 lb. (bond) or 60 lb. (offset), but some can also go to lower basis weights.
  • Some digital printing equipment requires a certified product; others a general digital guarantee.
  • A mill guarantee typically applies to a type of digital printing technology such as dry toner electrophotography found in a number of digital printing devices.
  • If you’re planning to print your project on offset with subsequent reprints on digital, select a product that is available in offset folio sizes and digital sheet sizes.

Press Room Conditions, Paper Storage and Handling

Well-controlled pressroom conditions are essential to the performance of digital equipment. Also be aware that each digital printing
device has specific maintenance and calibration requirements that can impact results. Both the paper and the equipment need to be maintained in the best possible condition to achieve optimal print results.


  • To preserve the condition of digital papers, they should be stored and printed at 70° Fahrenheit/ 20° Celsius and 50% humidity.
  • These conditions are best for toner/ink adhesion and help avoid jams.
  • Allow paper to come to these conditions prior to printing, after printing and before converting or packaging.
  • Preprinted materials should acclimate for at least 24 hours while still in their moisture-barrier wrapping.
  • Acclimation should occur within the area where the pre-printed materials will be imaged.
  • Allow printed materials to reacclimate before being placed in moisture-barrier wrapping or applying post-processing techniques.


Smart Digital Design

Advancements in digital technology give you more options than ever before. Not to say every job should be printed digitally. You may even consider combining offset with digital, lowering costs without sacrificing results. The key is to understand your client’s expectations. Only then can you propose the most affordable, strategic and smartest solution.

burt starts by asking three questions:

1. What is the quantity?

2. Will the content need to be updated on a regular basis?

3. Are there advantages to tailoring the piece for different demographics?

Short Run:

Unless your client has money to burn, quantities below 500 are best run on a digital press. But don’t fret about the end quality. Innovations in digital devices, paper and software have taken the technology a long way in a very short time. It’s not your coffee shop copier. Follow burt’s tips and achieve impressive results.

Life Span:

If you know that content or imagery is going to date itself quickly, there are two choices: digital only or offset + digital. With digital printing, there is no “formal” press setup, allowing you to run limited quantities in the most cost-effective manner. Consider pre-printing covers or shells offset with the ability to update or rerun on a digital press as needed. Just be sure and select a paper that is available in offset folio sizes and digital sheet sizes.

Variable Data:


In its infancy, variable data was amazing, but perhaps a little limiting. The word “cheesy” may even come to mind. But through advancements in software, you may be astonished as to what you can do, both creatively and strategically. Beyond names and words, adjust imagery to reflect geography, gender or age. Make a personal connection to an array of audiences with one basic concept.


  • Work with your printer to determine the most compatible inks, techniques and papers for the device and type of job you are printing.
  • Toner does not adhere to heavily printed offset inks, so it’s important to keep ink coverage to a minimum and avoid overlapping laser-printed images with offset images. If you must print over offset ink, use a halftone screen for the offset preprint.
  • The final trimming of your form must be clean, square and cut exactly to size. Any poorly trimmed paper will cause feeding
    and performance issues in the digital printer.

Mythbusting Design Solutions

There are a lot of misconceptions about printing digitally. Beyond innovations in the digital arena, it’s an alternative that offers unparalleled flexibility for designers and printers. The key is to discuss expectations up front.

Designers Tip:

By adjusting the size of your piece down a fraction, you may be able to maximize the number of pieces that can be printed on a sheet. If folding, be sure and design with the grain.

Paper Tip:

Did you know digital text-weight runs grain long while digital cover stock is grain short? So if your piece has a fold, be sure and create a dummy to avoid a misstep.

Printer's Tip:

It is very important for printers to be trained by the OEM and continue to follow the recommended maintenance for your devices.


  • The recommended maximum coverage of toner or ink for most digital devices is 280%. Printing upwards of 400% process color can cause flaking.
  • Save images at no less than 300 dpi and keep line art at a minimum of 600 to 800 dpi.
  • OpenType or TrueType fonts are recommended. Be aware that larger serif fonts may run together.
  • Use a font no smaller than 8 points to ensure readability.
  • Shadows and solids can be achieved on a digital press. Your printer may suggest a fine texture be added to the design to prevent banding.
  • Solids are not recommended in a fold.
  • Talk to your printer if a PMS match is important to your piece. Ink/toner technology has come a long way, but some devices are limited.
  • If a project requires folding, binding, scoring or die cutting, discuss filesetup with your printer.
  • If considering digital reruns, understand what an offset piece will look like when converted to digital by testing.
  • Make a mockup to ensure proper file setup and address design issues before doing a full run.

Digital Printing Equipment/Devices

burt’s top considerations:

  • Is the project black & white or color? If color, discuss the number of colors, use of four-color process or PMS.
  • All devices can use 11x17 and 12x18 sheets as well as 60 lb. text through 100 lb. cover weights.
  • Check to see if the device requires a certified paper product or a mill guarantee.

Xerox iGen4

  • CMYK Dry Ink (dry toner)
  • Maximum sheet size 14.33x20.5 standard, 14.33x26 optional on EXP Press
  • Paper weight 16 lb. bond to 130 lb. cover

HP Indigo 7500

  • HP ElectroInk (liquid toner)
  • Maximum sheet size 13x19
  • Paper weight 40 lb. text to 130 lb. cover

Canon imagePRESS C7010VPS/C6010VPS/C6010S Series

  • Advanced V(five) Toner (dry toner)
  • Maximum sheet size 13x19.2
  • Paper weight 16 lb. bond to 120 lb. cover

Kodak Nexpress SX Series

  • HD Dry Ink (dry toner)
  • Maximum sheet size 14x20 standard, 14x26 optional
  • Paper weight 16 lb. bond to 130 lb. cover

Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C70hc

  • Simitri HC toner
  • Maximum sheet size 13x19.2
  • Paper weight 16 lb. bond to 130 lb. cover

Digital Paper Platform

Domtar provides optimized products guaranteed to perform on an array of digital devices such as HP Indigo 5500 and 7000 series, Xerox iGen and Kodak Nexpress. Because machines vary, be sure to talk to your printer or OEM to achieve project goals and avoid complications or delays.

Super Premium: Cougar Digital Color Copy

  • Available in 60 lb. text to 130 lb. double-thick cover
  • Super smooth print surface

Premium: Cougar Digital

  • Available in 60 lb. text to 100 lb. cover
  • Smooth print surface

Value: Lynx Digital

  • Available in 50 lb. text to 100 lb. cover
  • Smooth print surface

Economy: Husky Digital

  • Available in 60 lb. and 70 lb. text
  • Smooth print surface


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