Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing
Which is the better fit for your project – offset printing, or digital printing?
Two choices await you when you walk in with a large printing project – offset printing or digital printing. These two printing styles have been around for years (well, one far longer than the other), and both have their advantages. Here’s what you need to know.
When Does Digital Printing Make Sense?
If you’ve used an office copier or a home printer, you’ve probably already experienced a common form of digital printing. This type of printing uses liquid inks or, at times, special toners. Each image is digitally downloaded and processed, then turned out onto the paper in a single printing action.
This approach comes with many advantages, especially for small companies or small batches. Digital printing is very fast and very efficient, so prices tend to stay low as long as batches are relatively short. Because of the digital software used in this process, digital printing also tends to be more adaptable, able to pinpoint colors very accurately, adjust shades, deal with complex image requirements, and share or switch images as needed with little fuss.
Digital printing, however, does have some downsides. Costs can rise as batches grow larger, and quality may be an issue with some types of digital printing. Digital images have been associated with poor color accuracy, fading, printing errors, and similar problems. This outcome has been changing over the years as digital printing tech has improved, and now quality levels are often comparable to offset printing.
Is Offset Printing the Best Choice for You?
Offset printing occurs when an image is first created on a plate, then transferred to a printing material, such as a rubber roller, then transferred again to paper. Inks tend to be more strictly defined than in digital printing, usually CMYK inks or SPOT inks depending on how color is achieved. This is a traditional printing method, different from computer-generated imaging and other plate creation techniques used today: The physical process is still very similar to the first printing presses ever created.
By using a plate and strict color control, offset printing has won a name for rich, authentic and accurate colors that won’t bleed as easily and are highly durable. As a result, businesses use offset printing for high-quality projects. Once plates are created, offset printing also excels at making large batches while still saving money via economies of scale, something that digital printing doesn’t do well.
Of course, all those extra materials and steps have their cost – literally. Offset printing has higher costs than digital printing for the average-sized order, and it will take significantly longer in most cases.
Finding the Right Type of Printing for You
Digital printing excels at smaller batches and high-speed printing, the sort often needed by today’s nimble young businesses, while offset printing is more suited toward large projects and more complex color requirements. However, the size of the printing materials, the type of printing material, and many other factors play into this decision.
For more information on your business printing needs, call Modern Mail & Printing Solutions at 888-430-6245 for advice or to request a quote.