Web-to-Print, also known as Web2print or remote publishing is similar to desktop publishing where a graphic designer is hired to create a template layout for a client. The client gives the designer a general layout of their product with any specific details they want then the designer accommodates their requests into a template.[1] Web-to-print is convenient because the client can place their own information or have the designer complete the layout. Web-to-print connects the commercial printing process with online digital content. This process allows the clients, graphic designers and print houses to easily edit a template from any access point before the layout is printed. Once the layout is completed, it can be transported between the designer and printer through a PDF (portable data file). A PDF allows graphic designs and artist to supply only one final output file to the printer. Opposed to supplying an output file with all the supporting elements and fonts. The printer can then make an necessary customizations needed for offset or digital printing. PDFs are also cross-platform compatible so designs can be designed on Macs and still be views and edited on PCs.

Web-to-Print is accessible to commercial users, small businesses and the general public, providing them access to online storefronts where they can view catalogs of templates offered by print houses. The templates can then be customized to the customers desires by changing typefaces, colours, adding images or logos, and changing the placement of columns and boxes.[2] Every business needs publicity and Web-to-print offers them a way to design and print, business cards, flyers, and pamphlets in black and white or full colour. Customers can also choose the paper size and type, and other finishing affects such as laminating or etching. Most of the templates work on a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface so any final changes can be made by the client or printer without the need of a designer.[3] Web-to-Print allows businesses to develop their own Brand Name, with watermarks and consistent use of templates that consumers can easily recognize.

History of Web-to-Print

The origin print.jpgof the phrase "Web-to-Print" is not known, but it is credited to Jim Frew, who was the first to coin the phrase when he wrote an article back in 1999 titled From Web to Print for Webmonkey, an online resource for web designers. He detailed the process by which content can be held online and sent to commercial printing production.[4] Desktop Publishing provided the basis for Web-to-Print to expand and with the onset of e-commerce it gave clients a way to buy and sell products online. Businesses could then pay designers to create templates which would be posted online so they could be viewed and customized electronically for any layout project.

In 1995, the Xerox Corporation was credited with creating, InterDoc, one of the first programs capable of transferring digital images from clients to printing companies over the internet. In recent years many more sophisticated layout programs have been designed such as Adobe Indesign and QuarkXPress.[5]

How Web-to-Print Works

Kodak Online Web-to-Print Storefront


Web-to-Print Visual Workflow

How Web-to-Print Works

Web-to-Print Workflow

Relevance of Web-to-Print

web-to-print-printers-chart.gifOver time small companies have become more and more self sufficient and are always looking for ways to expand with only minimal costs. Web-to-print is affordable and can help these companies design everything they will need to direct market their businesses while maintaining a professional standard. Everyone is capable of using Web-to-Print and can be accessed anywhere in the world. Designers are continually looking for ways to improve their templates and making them more user friendly. Also, with the advancements in cloud computing files can now be accessed online anywhere in case something is missing from a PDF. Advancements in technology will greatly influence the future of Web-to-print, customers can already order prints and layouts on their smartphones without ever meeting the designer face to face.[6]

One day Web-to-Print will become the only printing process because of it's convenience, cost efficiency and integration into online businesses. Already stores who don't have a website are often forgotten about and are never given the opportunity to expand.

Advantages of Web-to-Print

  • Designers, printers, and clients can all access the project and ensure that it is proceeding as planned
  • The client can view their product at anytime online before it is printed
  • Changes can be made at any time by the client, designers or printers from anywhere
  • Clients can print mass quantities of their products without leaving their offices
  • Reduced printing costs and less time spent on publishing[7]
  • Drag and drop templates are easily accessible to clients
  • There are many web based storefronts that people can use such as Kodak, Sexton[8] and PrintNow

Disadvantages of Web-to-Print

  • Corrupt files
  • Missing fonts or files
  • File sizes, such as JPEGs, affecting the final quality of a print template
  • Miscommunication between clients, designers and printers
  • Mid and small sized print houses have limited access to Web-to-Print software
  • Cost to use Large print houses


Web-to-Print can be used to produce many different products such as:[9]
  • Pamphlets
  • Business Cards
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • Prints
  • Signs and Banners


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