From Web to Print to You

An introduction to the history and technicality of Web-to-Print

Web-to-Print, also known as Web2Print or as we here at ION like to call it- ActION, is a service that allows users to view, edit, proof, and order print products from a custom web portal built specifically per client. With its 24/7 proofing in real time, custom web portals and integrations, flawlessly branded products, merchandise (apparel and other promotional items), and fast lead time, it allows us to provide convenience and scalability to companies of any size. ActION also makes fulfillment a breeze by providing flexible and comprehensive fulfillment options that include delivering directly to our client, or straight to a consumer on behalf of a client. ION also offers a Print on Demand service, which allows for smaller print runs saving our clients space, and money. We’ve previously published some great blogs about this service, if you’d like to learn more:

In this post we’ll explore Web-to-Print processes, and why it has become popular in recent years.

Let’s break it down!



Web-to-Print has been around since the late 90’s. The term was first coined in an article describing how the printing process worked, targeted towards web designers. At that time, desktop publishing was what ruled the market, and it can still be relevant today, depending on the specific needs of a project.

 We offer in-house bespoke design for clients who prefer a hands-on approach.


Xerox- a key player in printing and a company that has been attributed to the “birth of the Internet”, developed the InterDoc software that allowed printing departments to receive and produce digital files from clients over the Internet. The average upload speed was 56kbps, which is quite slow compared to the nearly instant upload speeds we achieve with ActION. 


Prior to the release of HTML5 in 2014, a lot of Web to Print portals worked on Flash– which offered an editing environment where the average user could get great results and more tech savvy clients could utilize industry standard software. These portals allowed for users to change minor things like text and import their own logos or images.  

Templating for Web-to-Print has brought about a whole new side of publishing called Dynamic Page Publishing where layout templates are created, but the content in the templates can differ depending on the situation. With the advent of HTML5, Flash was abandoned in favour of lighter, more mobile friendly solutions. Web-to-Print portals are usually built with JavaScript, and utilize a few of HTML5’s built in features. However, these portals are still proprietary, and not easily accessible, so outsourcing from small companies to larger ones still occurs.  





We have solutions in place that allow us to print in-house, so when you use ActION your printing is done by our skilled print staff here in Edmonton and follows environmentally friendly protocols.




So why is Web-to-Print so popular? It allows businesses to get branded print/merchandise products, quickly and cost effectively. Instant proofing allows clients to confirm accuracy, and update details of their products easily. Take a construction company foreman, for example, who might need to change checklists relatively frequently due to building code changes. Instant proofing allows them to confirm changes made to their product to reflect exactly what they need. A bakery, on the other hand, might need to order more labels for their products. ActION’s custom web portals allow for quick reorders without need to change details, at the click of a button. It’s truly that easy!


Web-to-Print has been around for a long time, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Offering flexibility, shorter lead times, and many other benefits- it’s a solution that has proven its value to customers. Greater customization options, and faster, lighter in-browser editors will help make Web-to-Print a permanent fixture in every printing business. In light of the pandemic and many companies switching to remote work, solutions like Web-to-Print that allow for hands off 24/7 access will continue to grow in demand. 



At ION, innovation is at the core of everything we do,

and we’re excited to see how we can continue to evolve Web-to-Print for client needs.


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