Offset Printing vs Digital Printing: The Difference

Offset Printing vs Digital Printing: The Difference

What is offset printing? What is digital printing? Are there differences between the two methods?

Offset printing uses plates to transfer an image onto a rubber “blanket”. The image is then rolled onto the printing surface. The reason it is called “offset” is because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper. It has to be transferred. Offset printing is a good option when larger quantities need to be printed.

Instead of using plates, digital printing uses ink jet printing and lasers. The image is sent directly to the printer using digital files like a PDF or graphics from Illustrator. Money and time is saved because there is no need for a printing plate. Digital printing is the best option for lower print quantities. Plus, digital printing has variable data capacity which means items such as individual names and addresses can be placed on each piece.

What Is Offset Printing & The Advantages

Offset printing transfers ink from a printing plate onto a rubber sheet. The ink is then rolled onto/physically transferred onto a printing material. While this printing method is older than digital printing, there are many advantages to this method:

  • It has the ability to print larger quantities at a more cost effective price
  • Because larger quantities are often printed using this method, the price becomes lower as the number of pieces that are printed increases
  • Exceptional printing detail with the ability to use special custom inks during the printing process
  • The ability to print your materials using a wide variety of paper types as well as custom finishes

What is Digital Printing & The Advantages

Digital printing is a technique where digital-based images are directly printed onto media such as paper, canvas and cardstock. There is no need for a printing plate since digital files from desktop publishing files or a PDF can be sent directly to a digital printing press. The advantages of digital printing include:

  • Lower start-up cost since digital printing usually involves shorter print runs
  • You can print only the amount of pieces you need instead of having to produce a minimum print run number
  • Digital printing offers variable data capacity which means your print piece can include different names, addresses, copy and numbers on each piece that is printed
  • Faster turnaround time since there are no printing plates that need to be created

Now that you know the differences of offset printing vs, digital printing, contact us at 501-376-2397 to determine which option is right for you.

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