The Pros and Cons of Digital Stamps

       The Pros:
  • Cost savings:  Digital stamps usually cost less per image than an image that has been produced in rubber or acrylic. There is no shipping or handling cost associated with the purchase of a digital image, nor is there any cost to go to a store to buy them (e.g., gasoline for your car).
  • Instant Gratification:  Once you pay for your digital stamp, many companies offer immediate download of your selected image(s), while others will e-mail them to you within 24-48 hours after purchase – far faster than waiting for mail service delivery!
  • Wider range of image selection:  Manufacturers of rubber and/or acrylic stamps rely on minimum order levels and only produce stamps that will sell in large quantity, due to the manufacturing cost.  This is not true with digi-stamps, where designers are more willing to produce original art to be sold in the expanding digital market for a fraction of the cost.
  • Creative versatility:  Digital images can be resized, flipped, mirrored, layered, printed in any colors. They can be printed onto anything you can put through a computer’s printer, including paper, adhesive-backed fabric (e.g., Square 1 media), vinyl, transparencies, stickers, or transfer media for glass or hard surfaces.
  • Mess free:  No more inky fingers or ink spills, and you’ll never have to scrub another wood-mount stamp again!  To clean up after stamping digitally, just close your computer window.
  • Easy to store: Anyone who has ever tried to store hundreds of wood-mounted stamps or even pages of acrylic stamps can tell you that they’re space hogs. Not true with digi-stamps, where even high resolution images take only small digital space on a computer’s hard-drive. Many serious digi-stampers even store them instead in small thumb drives, burned onto CDs or copied onto external drives. 
  • Easy to transport: With digital stamps stored on thumb or flash drives, one can hold tens of thousands of images in one hand.
  • Won’t wear out:  Unless you delete or save over your original image in error, your digital stamp will not degrade over time or with multiple uses. 
  • Eco-friendly:  Most digital stamps are purchased online, saving on wasted packaging materials and delivery resources (boxes, stamps, etc.)  You’ll be arranging multiple copies/sizes of your digital image so that you can use one piece of paper or cardstock, saving on paper costs and resources.  You will have a perfect printed image every time (assuming your printer is working correctly), so there is no more waste with images that weren’t stamped correctly.
  • Freebies are available!  Many companies offer free digital stamps for you to try before you buy. Simply use your favorite search engine to scan for "free digital images" or "freebie digi-stamps".

    The Cons:
  • No physical asset:  When you buy a digital stamp, you are buying only the right to use that image; you are not buying the image itself.  You cannot resell it after you have used it, so you cannot recoup any portion of the money spent for the digital stamp itself.
  • Must have computer and printer access/knowledge:  All the flash drives in the world with fabulous digital images will do you no good whatsoever if your computer has crashed, you’ve run out of printer ink, or your electricity is out. Don’t figure that you’ll be taking your laptop to the sandy beach to use your digi-images.
  • Quality of printer ink:  The quality of your printer’s ink may affect the finished item. Some printer inks run or smear when they are wet or when certain markers are applied. Always test your markers with your printer’s ink, and give your ink time to dry before coloring your image.
  • Limited surfaces:  If you cannot run your material (thick cardstock or very thin paper, transparency, etc.) through your printer, you cannot apply your digi-image to surfaces like fabric, glass, etc.  Yes, there are ways to work around these limitations, but you need to be willing to be resourceful and have access to the supplies needed.
  • Cost/waste of inkjet ink/paper:  You’ll definitely be printing more images, in different sizes. Inkjet ink is not inexpensive, nor is paper. 
  • License limitations:   You cannot share your purchases with your cropping friends, according to terms of use (TOU), angel policies or licensing terms.  Be aware of each company’s rules for use before you violate them.  
  • Computer crash/die:  Please be sure to back-up your computer frequently!  If not, you will likely lose all of your purchased digital images if your computer crashes or dies.  It has been my experience (don’t ask me how!) that some digital companies with which you are registered may be willing to re-send or replace your lost images, but not all do, nor is it a requirement.

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