If you’re in need of printing services, you’ve probably thought about the design, colors, layout, and other aspects of the project. But one thing you may not have considered is choosing between digital and offset printing. These are the two printing options that most printers offer you. Let’s take a look both at printing methods so that you can make the most optimal choice.
What Exactly is Offset and Digital Printing?
Offset is a printing technique where the ink is taken from the plate to the rubber rolls. Then the printing paper is run through these rubber rolls for the finished product. As you can imagine, this is the traditional printing method that has been used for newspaper printing jobs.
In comparison, digital printing skips through all the steps and parts required in offset printing. The design uses ink and toners to print directly on the paper. This printing method is what’s used in most home printers. You simply put in the cartridge for the ink and the printer does its job right on the paper you feed it.
While digital printing is meant to be a technology designed to succeed offset printing, there are still pros and cons of both methods. Let’s take a close look at them starting with offset printing.
The Pros of Going with Offset Printing
- With offset printing, you get a better image quality. Designs and fonts appear more solid, consistent, and sharp.
- You can also expect better color reproduction. It can work with different inks for each project, so you’re going to get the color you’re looking for.
- With larger printing orders, offset printing ends up being cheaper because the ink is less expensive than the ink used in digital printing.
The Cons of Offset Printing
- Because it uses plates, it has a high starting cost which makes it less cost-efficient for smaller orders.
- Since plates need to be created for offset printing, it has a longer turnaround time for printing jobs.
- Errors in design can be costly. You will need to redo the plate. With digital printing, all you have to do is correct mistakes and start a new batch.
The Pros of Digital Printing
- Because the printer works directly on the paper, there’s a fast turnaround time which is optimal for tight deadlines.
- There aren’t any high upfront costs, so you can get an affordable printing job for low volume orders.
- You can quickly make changes and fix errors, unlike offset printing.
The Cons of Digital Printing
- For bigger orders, you’ll end up paying more for digital printing due to the higher cost of ink.
- Since the base colors are used for color reproduction, you’re not going to get the same quality of color accuracy as offset printing.
- You’re also not going to get the same sharpness you’d find with offset printing.
How to Choose the Right Printing Method
For most people looking to print a simple design, digital printing is probably the ideal solution. But there are many things to consider before making a decision. Here are some things to think about.
1. How Time-Sensitive is the Project?
Do you need a large batch of prints for an upcoming marketing campaign in two days? If so, it’s a safer bet to go with digital printing. If you have plenty of time, you’ll probably save money by going with offset printing.
2. How Important is the Quality?
When seeking out printing services for intricate designs, you want to go with offset printing. There’s a huge difference in color reproduction, consistency, and sharpness between digital and offset printing. You’ll often have to deal with blurs, fading, and smudging with digital printing.
3. How Large is Your Order?
As mentioned earlier, you save money on larger orders with offset printing. If you have a small order, then digital printing is far cheaper. Talk to your printing company to discuss rates.
4. Are You Printing on Special Material?
Digital printing works best with regular paper. If you’re printing on special material like vinyl brochures or book covers, you will need to go with offset printing.
These are the difference between digital and offset printing. To make the right choice on which one to go with, go through the questions above and you’ll be able to come up with the right solution for your situation.