While offset printing presses allow you to quickly print larger sheets, the finished products of both printing types are remarkably similar. The biggest differences are related to quality, time, and budget; even those numbers can vary based on your business needs. When it comes to offset vs. digital printing, which is right for you?
In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between offset printing vs. digital printing so you can get a better sense of each process and decide on which one suits your project the best.
Digital printing reproduces vibrancy of color but can ‘crack’ when folded. Offset produces higher quality coverage & shaded areas.
Traditional Offset Printing is produced on a printing press using printing plates and wet ink. This type of printing takes longer to produce as there is more setup time and the final product must dry before finishing can take place. At the same time, offset printing traditionally produces the highest quality available on the widest variety of stocks and offers the highest degree of control over color. Further, offset printing is the most economical choice when producing large numbers of prints of your marketing materials.
Digital Printing used to be called ‘copying,’ but that term is now outdated. Today, instead of copying a hard copy original, the vast majority of digital printing is output directly from electronic files. Digital printing is the quickest way to produce short runs, especially when there are a many originals. The quality level of digital printing is now extremely close to offset printing. Although digital printing works well on most stocks today, there are still some papers and jobs where offset printing works better. There are also some stocks and jobs where digital printing will perform as well as, or better than, offset printing.
Now that you’ve read more about offset vs. digital printing, you’re familiar with how these two options differ, and which one seems like the best fit for your next printing project.
When you’re ready to get started, simply contact us at Princetonian Graphics.
Offset printing is the most common type of printing for high volume commercial jobs. It works by burning a design onto metal plates – one for each color. The printer then uses these plates to print the image using four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) or more depending on the needs of the customer.
The image area on the plate receive ink from the rollers. That ink and plate create an impression on a soft rubber blanket which then transfers the ink to the paper. Hence the name offset since the metal plate never touches the paper directly. This occurs for each of the colors in 4 separate press units in sequence to produce a “four color process” printed piece.
Digital printing doesn’t use plates the way offset does, but instead uses toner (like in laser printers). Digital printing shines when lower quantities are needed; think of a run of 100 greeting cards or 500 full color flyers.
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