Offset Printing Vs Digital Printing

If you’re looking for a printing company with experience in large format printing, look no further. We have a host of wide format printers that are capable of efficiently completing just about any large-scale project. An important decision you might need to make is whether you want to rely on digital or offset printing to finish the job.

Is there a difference between offset printing and digital printing? Short answer: yes. However, there is much more to it than that because it doesn’t necessarily mean that the one printing method is superior to the other. The most important thing to identify is what the task at hand is and which of the two would be the most suitable to get the job done. Read on to gain a better understanding of each printing method and how you can decide on which would be next for your next printing project.

What is offset printing?

This is a printing technique that makes use of plates that are often made of aluminium. These plates are used transfer an image onto a rubber ‘blanket’. Finally, the image is then rolled onto a sheet paper. The name of the printing technology comes from the process because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper.

This form of printing is best used when there is a need for large quantities. It captures and reproduces colour accurately offering fine, vivid, and professional finishes.

Advantages of Offset Printing:

  • Provides the best possible printing quality with vivid finishes and exquisite detail
  • Offers scalable printing which means that the more you print, the less it costs you with the price per piece dropping
  • Allows you to use special custom ink for unique finishes
  • It’s a cost-effective choice for large quantities of printing

What is digital printing?

Unlike offset printing, digital printing does not use plates. Instead, it uses alternatives such as toner and liquid ink. Its efficiency and effectiveness are best served when printing in lower quantities. Another strength of digital printing is its ability to capture variable data. When you need quality printing done fast and efficiently digital is the way to go, particularly if you don’t need large runs.

Advantages of Digital Printing:

  • Low setup costs for short runs
  • It allows you to print only the amount you need for the project
  • Best used for lower minimum quantities
  • Offers affordable black and white printing
  • Variable data capability will enable details such as names and addresses to be changed on each print with relative ease
  • Digital printing is useful for many applications including wide format printing

The Verdict

As you can see, each printing technology has its merits and can be best served when applied in particular scenarios. The key is to understand the requirements and to choose the most suitable option accordingly.

If you’re still not sure which option appeals to you, you might want to consider the following before embarking on your large format printing project:

  • Quantity

If your project demands a high volume of prints (500 pieces and above), then offset printing is the direction you want to go in. It will help manage costs but ensure the finish is perfect.

  • Deadlines

If you are pressed for time and need to meet deadlines urgently then, digital printing is the method you should opt for.

  • Substrates and printing materials

While digital printing has grown in leaps and bounds, offset printing still trumps digital printing when it comes to printable surfaces. If your prints need to be done on a particular substrate, then offset is the printing method we recommend.

  • Customisation

If your project demands that each piece have slightly different details, then to guarantee flexibility and efficiency you want to make sure you opt for digital printing.

  • Colour

Digital printing, though adept at capturing the approximations of colour, is still a far cry from the capabilities of offset printing. If you need to reproduce exact colour tones, then offset printing is hands down the printing method for your project.