Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing – Guide To Make The Right Choice

Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing – Guide To Make The Right Choice

Two of the most common commercial printing technologies in use today are “Offset” and “Digital” printing — and one of the most common questions in printing is, How to Decide which is Right for Your Project?

In today’s commercial printing, digital marketing technology has brought more options and all new features. Along with this, it has also created confusion as to choose Digital printing or Offset printing.

In order to make the right choice, it is very important to understand the benefits of the two.

Offset Printing – The Most Common Method

Offset printing is one of the most common commercial printing technologies. In this, the print image that is chosen, is burned onto a plate, after that transferred to the rubber blanket, and finally to the surface where it is supposed to be placed. The process is called lithography and is based on the repulsion of oil and water on the printing and non-printing areas respectively.

Digital Printing

Mechanical Steps have now been eliminated in digital printing, including making the films and color proofs. Most digital presses today apply ink in a single pass from a single ink head, similar to common inkjet printers found in homes and offices.

Now the question is which one is better.

Well, it depends upon the pros and cons of both.

Here they are:

Pros of Offset Printing

  • For offset printing, a print quality of 500 units is typically well suited.
  • Multiple press “heads” allow for an infinite array of colors and printing techniques.
  • For instance, a 40″ press can accommodate a flat page size of approx. 25″ x 38″.

Cons of Offset Printing

The cost of offset printing is very high and it is time-consuming as well. To do the maintenance, setup, and run a job, the offset printing requires a minimum of two persons. It increases the print costs with increased turnaround time.

Pros of Digital Printing

  • On each individual piece, digital printing machines can print customized copy, such as address and name for the postcards.
  • For a digital press, print quantity under 500 units is typically well suited.
  • The maintenance and setup cost is very low which results in quick turns and cheaper prices.

Cons of Digital Printing

  • Most of the digital printing presses have the ability to lodge press sheets that are up to 18″x12″.
  • In comparison to offset printing, the print quality is not much refined.

Still Not Sure Which is Right?

Here is a checklist that will make it easy for you to choose:

  • Quantity
  • Printing medium
  • Color
  • More on color
  • Turnaround
  • Customization

Use the above-mentioned checklist that will help you decide which one to choose.

The Final Takeaway

The decision depends upon the type of project you’re printing. If you are planning just a few copies then you can go for digital printing. However, Offset printing, which is being used from years, is the best choice for all the needs, be it more than 500 print copies. The areas where Offset Printing is most widely used are Newspaper printing, Books printing, Magazine printing, and others.

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