Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing

So for us, printing is printing, whether digital or offset. We barely know the difference.Let’s take a look at the two printing methods i.e. digital printing and offset printing, their differences, and whether it makes sense to choose one or the other for your next print project.

What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is mass-production printing system wherein images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media. Offset printing is one of the best choices when a larger quantity of printing is required, as it also provides accurate color reproduction, crisp and clean professional looking printing.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing does not use plates the way offset printing does, though users options such as toner (like in laser printers) or larger printers that do use liquid ink. Digital printing is best when lower quantities are needed. One more benefit of digital printing is its variable data capability. When each collateral needs to have a different code, name or address, digital printing is the only way to go. Offset printing cannot accommodate this need.

Offset printing is one of the best way to produce bulk print projects, but many businesses or individuals don’t need large runs of 500 or more and thus, digital printing is the best solution when less quantity is required.

Advantages of Digital Printing:

  • The Setup costs is lower for short runs
  • You can print only the amount you need, when you need it
  • You can have Lower minimum quantities be it as low as 1, 20 or 50 pieces
  • The black and white digital printing is inexpensive
  • Digital printing has Variable data capability (names, addresses, codes or numbering can be done easily)
  • Improved technology has made digital quality acceptable for more uses

Advantages of Offset Printing:

  • Helps to print Large quantities cost effectively
  • The more you print, the cheaper the price per piece
  • There is a large variety of paper types with custom finishes
  • Special custom inks such as metallic and Pantone colors are available

Offset printing and digital printing, both are useful printing methods. Each has their own benefits depending on your project’s requirements. If you need larger runs of a project, into the hundreds or thousands, or are using a specific color, then offset printing is the only way to go. You can make use of a much wider variety of papers and different types of specialty inks, such as metallic or fluorescent inks in the offset process.

If you have a small run of even less than 100 or the need for individual addresses or information is required, digital printing is your solution. The best part is that as a business, your needs can be met with either of these choices, and the high-level of quality means you get a printed product that will make you look great!

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