Have you wondered what the difference is between digital printing and offset printing? While printing may seem pretty straightforward, these two methods have some pretty distinct differences. Let’s explore each of these types of printing and why you would choose one or the other for your next project.
What is Offset Printing?
Offset printing technology uses plates (usually made from aluminum) to transfer an image onto a rubber “blanket”. Once this step is done, the image is then rolled onto a sheet of paper.
This method is referred to as “offset” because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper during this process. Offset printing is a good choice when larger quantities are needed because offset presses run so efficiently once they are set up. It also provides accurate color reproduction and crisp, clean, professional-looking printing.
What is Digital Printing?
Digital printing doesn’t use plates the way offset printing does but instead uses modern digital printers that use liquid ink and toner. Digital printing can shine for both small and large quantity jobs if you have good materials and a high-end printer, but it is not the typical choice for large quantity projects.
One of the main benefits of digital printing is its customizability. When each piece you create needs a unique code, name, or address printed on it, digital is the only way to go. Offset printing cannot accommodate this need due to its fixed setup.
While offset printing is a fantastic way to produce great-looking print projects, many businesses or individuals do not need large runs of 500 or more, making the best solution for digital printing in most cases.
Advantages of Offset Printing
Offset printing is a more commercially-based and traditional method of printing, but it still has its own unique advantages, which include:
- More cost-effective for larger jobs
- The more you print, the cheaper the price per piece
- A large variety of paper types with custom finishes can be used
- Special custom inks such as metallic and Pantone colors are available
- Highest possible printing quality with greater detail and color fidelity
Advantages of Digital Printing
- Digital printing is a go-to modern method that provides speed and efficiency. Some of its main highlights include:
- Lower setup costs for shorter runs of prints
- Print only the amount you need, when you need it
- Lower minimum quantities (as low as 1, 20, or 50 pieces)
- Inexpensive black and white digital printing
- More customization capabilities
- Improved editing and printing technologies have made digital quality acceptable for more uses
Offset and digital are both useful printing methods. Each of these methods has particular benefits depending on your project’s requirements.
When you need larger batch orders completed, offset printing is the most economical option. You can also use a much wider variety of custom papers and specialty inks, such as metallic or fluorescent inks, using the offset process.
If a small run of less than 100 or the need for individual addresses or information is required, digital is your solution. The main thing to keep in mind is that your needs can be met with either of these choices depending on your preferences and unique needs as a business.
Digital printing is becoming a go-to option and continues to evolve every year and find its way into commercial uses. For more information, reach out to the printing professionals at Professional Graphics Inc. today and get guidance from the experts on which avenue will fit your needs best.
Professional Graphics Inc. is a full-service commercial printing and signage company that specializes in graphic design and printing. Their team of experts has over 40 years of experience providing complete commercial printing services at competitive rates.
When it comes to printing and graphics, there’s no question that customer service and attention to detail matter. Professional Graphics continues to adapt and innovate to bring customers the best and the most advanced solutions so that every job they complete will turn out beautiful and eye-catching.