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What’s the Typical Turnaround Time for Digital Printing Orders?


Typical Turnaround Time for Digital Printing Orders

Have you ever wondered how quickly your digital printing order can be completed? Well, the answer depends on the production speed and can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors such as artwork and fulfillment. Understanding the typical turnaround time in business days is crucial for effective planning and ensuring your project stays on track.

The production turnaround time for a printing project in the digital printing industry depends on various elements such as the complexity of the artwork, the quantity of pieces being printed, and the current workload of the print shop. While some standard turnaround times may promise a specific number of business days or hours, it’s important to note that these estimates are just that – estimates.

Whether you need brochures for an upcoming event or promotional materials for a product launch, knowing the production speed and turnaround times for your digital printing order is essential for effective marketing. So, let’s delve into this topic further and explore what influences production speed and turnaround times in the world of digital printing.

Factors Affecting Print Production Turnaround Time

Several factors impact the turnaround time of digital printing orders in the marketing industry. Understanding these pieces can help you better manage your expectations and plan accordingly when placing print orders. Let’s delve into the key elements that influence the speed at which your prints are produced, ensuring timely delivery within business days.

Complexity and Size of the Print Job

The complexity and size of a printing project in the digital printing industry play a significant role in determining the production speed. When a print job involves intricate designs, multiple colors, or special effects, it requires more time for the printer to process and execute. Similarly, larger print jobs with extensive page counts or oversized dimensions may take longer due to the increased amount of data that needs to be processed.

To further illustrate the importance of production speed in the digital printing industry, consider a printing project such as a brochure design with intricate graphics and unique folds. The printer will need additional time to ensure precise alignment of each element and guarantee high-quality results. On the other hand, a simple one-page flyer without any complex design elements will likely have a faster turnaround time. In both cases, the answer lies in understanding the specific requirements of the printing project.

Finishing Options

Finishing options such as binding, laminating, or embossing can also affect print production turnaround time for a printing project. These additional steps require extra attention and precision from the printer’s side. For instance, if you opt for saddle-stitch binding on a booklet order, it will take longer compared to simple stapled pages. This can impact the overall timeline of the day.

When selecting finishing options for your printing project, it is important to consider that each option may add complexity and potentially extend the standard turnaround time. However, these finishes can greatly enhance the visual appeal and durability of your prints.


The production speed of prints requested is another crucial factor influencing the turnaround time. Naturally, larger quantities will require more time for printing and processing than smaller ones. Printers need to ensure sufficient ink supply, paper stock availability, and efficient handling during high-volume runs throughout the day.

Consider ordering 500 business cards versus 5,000 business cards; while both jobs may involve the same design, the printer will need more time to complete the larger quantity due to the additional printing and cutting involved. This can impact production speed and result in a longer turnaround time.

Paper Type

The type of paper chosen for your prints can impact production turnaround time. Some specialty papers or cardstocks may require adjustments in printing settings or additional drying time. For instance, if you opt for a glossy finish on your prints, they may need extra time to dry before they can be handled or packaged. This can affect the overall efficiency of the printing process and delay the completion of your order by a day.

Different paper types have varying characteristics that printers must account for during the production process. While these variations add value to your prints, they can also contribute to longer turnaround times.

Understanding the process of digital printing orders

Familiarizing yourself with the process of digital printing orders helps manage expectations regarding turnaround time. Digital printing has revolutionized the printing industry, offering a faster and more efficient way to produce high-quality prints.

Digital printing offers a quick and efficient way to print files directly from a computer to a printer, resulting in a speedy day turnaround. This eliminates the need for traditional methods like creating plates or screens, making it perfect for projects with tight deadlines.

When you submit a digital printing order, your file is first prepared by a graphic designer or prepress specialist to ensure that it meets the required format, resolution, and color mode for optimal print quality. This step is crucial in avoiding any potential issues during the printing process and helps to maintain a fast production turnaround time.

Once the file is ready, it is sent to a digital printer capable of handling various paper sizes and weights with a fast production turnaround time. These advanced printers use inkjet or laser technology to accurately reproduce your design on paper. The choice between inkjet and laser depends on factors like cost, print speed, and desired output quality.

The speed at which digital printers operate contributes significantly to shorter turnaround times compared to traditional methods. Unlike offset printing, where each color requires separate plates and setup time, digital printers can print multiple colors simultaneously. This eliminates the need for complex setups and allows for quicker production.

Digital printers offer greater flexibility and reduced production turnaround time. Variable data printing allows you to personalize each printed piece with unique information like names or addresses without slowing down the overall process. This feature is particularly valuable for direct mail campaigns or personalized marketing materials, helping to expedite production turnaround time.

Understanding how each step in the digital printing process contributes to the overall turnaround time can help you plan your projects more effectively. Here are some key factors that influence how long it takes from submitting your order to receiving the final prints:

  1. File preparation: Depending on the complexity of your design and any necessary adjustments required by the prepress specialist, this step can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. This is an important factor to consider when calculating production turnaround time.

  2. Printing time: The actual printing process varies depending on the size and quantity of your print job. For smaller orders, it can be completed within minutes, while larger projects may require several hours.

  3. Finishing touches: After printing, your order may undergo additional processes such as cutting, binding, or laminating. These finishing touches add extra time to the overall turnaround, but they are essential for delivering a polished final product.

By understanding the digital printing process and its various stages, you can better estimate the typical turnaround time for your orders. This knowledge allows you to plan ahead and ensure that your printing projects are completed in a timely manner without sacrificing quality.

Prepress time and its impact on turnaround time

Prepress activities like file preparation, proofing, and color correction play a crucial role in determining the overall print production timeline. Allocating sufficient prepress time ensures accurate results and prevents delays during production. Collaborating closely with your printer during prepress minimizes errors and reduces potential setbacks.

During the prepress stage, several essential tasks are undertaken to prepare the digital files for printing and optimize production turnaround time. These tasks include file formatting, resolution adjustment, font embedding, and color management. Each step requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure that the final printed product meets the desired quality standards within the specified production turnaround time.

One of the primary factors affecting turnaround time is file preparation. Properly preparing digital files before sending them to press is crucial for a smooth printing process. This involves ensuring that the files are correctly formatted, have appropriate resolutions, and contain all necessary fonts and images. Neglecting these aspects can lead to errors during printing or require additional revisions, which can significantly delay the project.

Proofing is another critical aspect of prepress that impacts turnaround time. Before proceeding with full-scale production, it is essential to review a proof of the artwork to check for any potential issues or errors. This step allows for corrections or adjustments before committing to printing large quantities. By catching mistakes early on through thorough proofing processes, you can avoid costly reprints and minimize delays in delivery.

Color correction is yet another vital component of prepress that affects turnaround time. Ensuring accurate color representation in printed materials is essential for maintaining brand consistency and visual appeal. Color correction involves adjusting hues, tones, saturation levels, brightness, and contrast to achieve optimal results on different substrates or printing processes. Taking the time to perform precise color corrections during prepress enhances print quality while reducing the likelihood of reprints due to unsatisfactory colors.

Collaboration between clients and printers during prepress is crucial for achieving efficient turnaround times. By working closely with your printer, you can communicate specific requirements and expectations, reducing the likelihood of errors or misinterpretations. Regular communication allows for prompt resolution of any issues that may arise during the prepress stage, preventing unnecessary delays in production.

Production time breakdown for digital printing orders

Digital print production consists of various stages that collectively determine the final output’s quality and delivery timeframe. Understanding this breakdown allows you to estimate when your order will be ready based on its specific requirements.

File Processing

The first stage in the production process is file processing. This involves preparing the digital files provided by the customer for printing. The printer needs to ensure that the files are in the correct format, have the right resolution, and are properly color calibrated. Depending on the complexity of the design and any necessary adjustments, file processing can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

Plate Setup (if applicable)

For certain types of digital printing, such as offset printing, plate setup may be required. This step involves creating plates that will transfer ink onto the paper or other materials. The time required for plate setup depends on factors like the number of colors involved and the size of the print run. It can range from a few minutes for simple setups to several hours for more complex ones.

Ink Application

Once file processing and plate setup (if applicable) are complete, it’s time for ink application. Digital printers use advanced technology to apply ink precisely onto the substrate. The speed at which ink is applied can vary depending on factors like print resolution, color density, and substrate type. High-quality prints with intricate designs may require slower production speeds to ensure accuracy and detail.

Drying/Curing Processes

After ink application, drying or curing processes are necessary to ensure that the printed materials are ready for handling without smudging or smearing. Different types of inks require different drying or curing methods – some may need exposure to heat or UV light, while others air dry naturally over time. The duration of these processes varies depending on factors like ink type, substrate material, and environmental conditions.

Quality Control Checks Before Shipping or Delivery

Before your digital printing order is shipped or delivered, it undergoes thorough quality control checks. These checks ensure that the final output meets the desired standards of color accuracy, print resolution, and overall print quality. Quality control may involve visual inspections, color matching tests, and spot-checking for any defects or errors. The time required for these checks depends on the complexity of the order and can range from a few minutes to several hours.

By understanding the production time breakdown for digital printing orders, you can better estimate when your order will be ready. Factors such as file processing, plate setup (if applicable), ink application speed, drying/curing processes, and quality control checks all play a role in determining the typical turnaround time for your specific order. Keep in mind that rush orders or additional customization requests may require extra time.

Shipping and delivery considerations

One crucial aspect to consider is the shipping and delivery process. Properly factoring in shipping logistics can help you estimate when you’ll receive your printed materials, ensuring a smooth and timely experience.

Transit times, carrier availability, and distance between locations

Shipping issues can sometimes arise due to transit times, carrier availability, and the distance between your location and the printer’s facility. It’s essential to take these factors into account when planning for the arrival of your order. Depending on your location, transit times may vary significantly. For example, if you’re located in a remote area or international destination, it might take longer for your package to reach you.

To minimize any potential delays related to distance or carrier availability, it’s advisable to choose a reliable shipping option that offers tracking services. This way, you can keep an eye on the progress of your shipment and have peace of mind knowing where it is at all times.

Customs or border delays

For international shipments or orders crossing borders, customs clearance is another factor that can impact delivery timeframes. Customs processes can sometimes be unpredictable and cause unexpected delays. To avoid any unnecessary hold-ups at customs checkpoints, ensure that all necessary documentation is properly prepared and submitted with your shipment.

Communicating with your printer about shipping options

To streamline the shipping process and set realistic expectations for delivery timelines, it’s important to communicate effectively with your printer. Discussing available shipping options allows you to select the most suitable method based on factors like cost, urgency of delivery, and desired tracking capabilities.

By discussing potential shipping challenges or concerns upfront with your printer, you can work together towards finding optimal solutions that align with your specific needs and help expedite production turnaround time.

Delivery expectations

Having clear delivery expectations ensures a smoother experience overall, especially when it comes to production turnaround time. Once you’ve chosen a shipping option with your printer, they will be able to provide you with an estimated delivery date for your order. However, it’s important to remember that this is just an estimate and not a guarantee.

Factors like unforeseen shipping delays or changes in transit routes can sometimes affect the actual delivery date. To manage your expectations effectively, build a buffer into your timeline to account for any potential delays. This way, you’ll be prepared even if there are unexpected hiccups along the way.

Tracking your order and staying informed

Many print providers offer order tracking systems that allow you to monitor the progress of your digital printing order. This feature is especially beneficial for customers who want to stay updated on the status of their orders and anticipate their completion. By utilizing these tracking systems, you can easily keep an eye on your fulfillment timeline.

Regularly checking for updates helps you stay informed about the status of your project and anticipate its completion. With digital printing, the turnaround time can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the job, the volume of orders, and any custom requirements. By staying informed through order tracking, you can plan accordingly and manage expectations.

Utilizing communication channels provided by the printer keeps you in the loop regarding any unexpected changes or delays. Print providers often have dedicated customer service representatives who can provide real-time updates on your order’s progress. Whether it’s through email, phone calls, or even online chat support, these channels ensure that you are always aware of any issues that may arise during production.

In addition to tracking your order through a timeline or system provided by the print provider, there are other ways to stay informed about its progress:

  1. Electronic proofing: Some printers offer electronic proofs before proceeding with production. This allows you to review and approve a digital representation of your final product before it goes into printing. By carefully examining this proof and providing prompt feedback or approval, you can help streamline the process and avoid unnecessary delays.

  2. Proof approval process: If your order requires physical proofs for approval, make sure to promptly review them upon receipt. Timely approval will prevent any hold-ups in production.

  3. Open lines of communication: Establish clear lines of communication with your print provider from the beginning of the ordering process. This ensures that both parties are aware of each other’s expectations and can address any concerns promptly.

  4. Sales representatives: If available, consult with sales representatives who specialize in digital printing. They can provide valuable insights into the typical turnaround times for various types of jobs and offer advice on how to expedite the process if necessary.

By actively tracking your order, utilizing communication channels, and staying informed about any changes or delays, you can effectively manage your digital printing project. This level of involvement ensures that your order progresses smoothly from start to completion, ultimately saving you time and enabling you to meet your marketing and business goals.


In conclusion, understanding the typical turnaround time for digital printing orders is crucial for planning and managing your printing projects effectively. Various factors can impact the production timeline, including prepress time, production processes, shipping considerations, and order tracking.

By familiarizing yourself with these key aspects, you can have a better idea of what to expect when placing a digital printing order. It is important to note that each print job may have different requirements and complexities that can influence the overall turnaround time.

To ensure a smooth experience and timely delivery of your printed materials, it is recommended to provide all necessary files and information during the prepress stage. This will help minimize any potential delays in processing your order.

Staying informed about the progress of your order through tracking systems or communication with the printing company can give you peace of mind and allow you to plan accordingly.

Remember that shipping and delivery times should also be taken into account when considering the total turnaround time. Depending on your location and chosen shipping method, there may be variations in how long it takes for your printed materials to reach you.

To make the most out of your digital printing experience:

  • Plan ahead: Consider any upcoming deadlines or events when placing an order.

  • Communicate clearly: Provide detailed instructions and specifications for your print job.

  • Stay informed: Keep track of your order’s progress through available tracking systems.

  • Allow buffer time: Account for unexpected delays by giving yourself some extra time.

  • Work with reputable printers: Choose trusted printing companies known for their reliability.

Remember that every print project is unique, so it’s always best to consult directly with the printing company regarding specific details about turnaround times for your particular order.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions or need assistance with your digital printing needs!


Q: Can I expedite my digital printing order?

Yes! Many printing companies offer rush services or expedited production options for an additional fee. Be sure to check with your chosen printer to see if this option is available and what the associated costs may be.

Q: How can I minimize prepress time for my digital printing order?

To reduce prepress time, ensure that your files are properly prepared and meet the printer’s specifications. This includes using the correct file format, providing high-resolution images, and outlining any special requirements or color considerations.

Q: What happens during the production stage of a digital printing order?

During production, your print files are processed by specialized equipment that transfers ink directly onto the desired substrate. This process typically involves multiple steps, including image calibration, color matching, and quality control checks.

Q: Are there any limitations on shipping methods for digital printing orders?

The availability of shipping methods may vary depending on the printing company you choose. It’s important to check with them regarding their shipping options and any restrictions or limitations that may apply.

Q: Can I track my digital printing order during transit?

Yes! Most reputable printing companies provide tracking information once your order has been shipped. This allows you to monitor its progress and estimated delivery date.

Q: How can I ensure my printed materials are delivered safely?

To ensure safe delivery of your printed materials, it’s advisable to package them securely using appropriate protective measures such as bubble wrap or sturdy envelopes. Selecting a reliable shipping carrier can help minimize the risk of damage during transit.

Q: Can I make changes to my digital printing order after it has been submitted?

Once an order has been submitted and processed, making changes may not always be possible. It’s essential to review all details carefully before finalizing your submission to avoid any potential issues or delays.

Q: What should I do if there is an issue with my digital printing order upon delivery?

If you encounter any issues with your printed materials upon delivery, such as damaged items or incorrect quantities, it’s important to contact the printing company immediately. They will be able to assist you in resolving any problems and ensuring your satisfaction.

Q: How can I ensure the best print quality for my digital printing order?

To achieve the best print quality, ensure that your design files are high-resolution and properly optimized for printing. It’s beneficial to work with a professional printing company that utilizes advanced equipment and maintains strict quality control standards.


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