USA TODAY production meets round-the-clock deadlines with help from HP

Hp T1120



  • USA TODAY needed to update its fleet of printers used for production proofing. The printers needed to reproduce accurate colours for the proofing process, be compatible with custom newspaper stock and provide a reliable, cost-competitive printing solution for the long term.



  • The HP Designjet T1120 Printer is a reliable printing solution designed for low total cost of ownership, high productivity and reproducing accurate colours.
  • HP Vivera inks, including a three-black ink set, produce a wide range of colours and fine detail for professional prints.



  • USA TODAY is experiencing a 10 percent increase in printing speeds using the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. This increase enables the production team to speed up their production workflow, catch errors faster and stay on schedule.
  • Outstanding quality from the HP Designjet T1120 Printer enables USA TODAY to produce additional applications such as high-quality special-edition commemorative prints for display purposes.
  • How to get ahead in the newspaper business


The newspaper business is notoriously fast paced and competitive, especially now that it must contend with online - and largely free - news sources. USA TODAY has stayed ahead of the game in terms of costs and productivity, thanks to a tech-savvy production department dedicated to adopting the latest digital inkjet technology for its proofing process.

Ron Cobbs, operations manager, has been a key player in the adoption of digital technology from the start. "We stepped into the fray early in terms of bringing digital technology into the newspaper industry. Starting ten years ago, we transitioned to doing inkjet proofs using HP Designjet printers.  Before that, all proofing was done on a web press, which was much more costly."

Along with Cobbs, Mike Grinder, production technician, helped jump-start USA TODAY's companywide digital transition at its 40 domestic and international print sites. Today the two colleagues are retooling the newspaper's proofing capabilities once again, upgrading the workhorse fleet of HP printers with the HP Designjet T1120 Printer.

Cobbs took a fresh look at available products before deciding on tried-and-true HP technology and the accurate colour reproduction and media compatibility offered by the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. The new HP technology builds on many of the digital benefits USA TODAY had been experiencing - enabling the print reproduction quality advertisers expect, while lowering production costs and improving workflow even further.


Accurate colour reproduction

As a major source of revenue, advertising is the lifeblood of newspapers. Any change in the technology or workflow must not detract from the newspaper's ability to serve advertisers. Accurate colour reproduction is essential to the proofing process, as staff check the colour of digital inkjet proofs against specifications to ensure advertisers are satisfied.

"We're finding some print houses and agencies we work with now have the same HP device and third-party software we use for colour management, so they can accurately reproduce the ad proofs there," says Cobbs. The colour consistency of the HP Designjet T1120 Printer and the rich gamut of HP Vivera inks allow USA TODAY's third-party vendor for colour management to accurately recreate the ad no matter where the proofs are printed.

Precise colour reproduction is also important for the newspaper's editorial content. USA TODAY uses a relatively high percentage of colour photos and graphics in its publications. Checking proofs against the originals allows the newspaper's production team to ensure matching skin tones or colours in graphs and charts. Thanks to the printer's resolution and wide range of colours, USA TODAY can achieve the exact colour it needs, every time.


Media compatibility enables time savings

The type of media USA TODAY uses is also essential to accurate colour reproduction. In fact, media compatibility was an overriding factor in USA TODAY's decision to go with the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. When proofing, the production department needs to see colours exactly as they will appear on newsprint.

The HP Designjet T1120 Printer has extensive media versatility, including compatibility with more than 35 types of Original HP media. To enable printing on USA TODAY media, the team puts its newsprint on rolls that feed into the HP Designjet T1120 Printer. "We also use HP high-gloss media to produce high-quality special-edition commemorative prints for display purposes," Cobbs adds.

Versatile media handling and reliability also help the production department save time. "Even using our custom media stock," Cobbs says, "we have no problem at all with feeding and handling." Printers in the newspaper's Virginia headquarters run nearly constantly-18 hours a day, six days a week, he adds.  "A simple paper jam could throw us off schedule, but we haven't had any downtime."

The media versatility of the HP Designjet T1120 Printer isn't the only feature helping to boost productivity. Grinder has also noticed a 10 percent increase in printing speed with the upgraded technology, in addition to the Original HP inks' ability to dry fast, allowing proofs to be handled almost immediately.


Digital technology helps newspapers thrive

As the newspaper and publishing industries grow increasingly competitive, HP is designing a broad portfolio of inkjet technology to enable them to operate efficiently. When the installation of HP Designjet T1120 Printers across USA TODAY's print sites is complete, the company's production will be able to benefit from increased productivity and lower costs.

Cobbs sums up their success transitioning to the new HP technology: "We're extremely pleased to have set up a digital proofing system that meets the needs of USA TODAY's production team, our advertising customers and internal customers in the editorial department. The HP Designjet T1120 Printer provides a dependable, reliable product at a great price point, backed by the service and support we need."