Which Printing Method is the Right Choice for Your Project?
You may think that there’s no difference between offset and digital printing in terms of quality, but there is a difference between the two. Both have advantages, and yet knowing which one is better for your print project can save you time, money, and result in a better-quality print.
What Is Offset Printing Used for?
Offset printing uses aluminum plates to transfer your image onto a rubber sheet, which is then rolled onto a piece of paper. Historically, it was used as a cheaper way to reproduce artwork, and it is still widely used today, especially for newspapers and magazines. Since the ink isn’t directly transferred from the plates to the paper, the process is called “offset.”
Each metal plate is used for each colour and needs to be etched individually. This process makes setting up an offset print job very expensive and time-consuming. However, once an offset press is set up, it runs extremely efficiently and quickly. The reliability makes it an excellent choice when you need large quantities of prints and want the highest print quality possible.
What Are the Advantages of Offset Printing?
- You can save a lot of money when you print large quantities, as many places will charge you the same price, regardless of batch size. So, the more you need, the cheaper each print will be.
- Offset printing has excellent colour fidelity and detail, giving you a high-quality print.
- You can use a wide variety of inks and paper types, from metallic colours to custom finishes on your paper, giving you plenty of creative freedom.
What Is Digital Printing?
Digital printing applies ink directly to the paper. It does this by using electrostatic rollers to apply ink or toner to the paper. Each roller, or drum, corresponds to one colour and uses an electrostatic charge to attract the ink or toner, which is then applied to the paper. The colour is fused to the paper using heat, and the final image is then released from the printer.
Since digital printing uses electronic information and doesn’t need to etch the image on the roller, it’s typically much easier to set up and execute. This process makes it perfect for shorter runs.
What Are the Advantages of Digital Printing?
- You can cost-effectively print small amounts.
- The set-up time is significantly shorter than offset printing.
- You can set up runs that include variability in type, such as names, addresses, etc.
- Quality is becoming better due to advances in digital printing technology
Both digital and offset printing have their place in the printing world, and you can choose which to use depending mainly on your needs.
When asking which one is better, you need to consider whether you are planning on printing large volumes of thousands of copies, or whether your quantity is smaller.
Offset printing makes sense if you’re printing massive amounts of copies and want the highest print quality possible. Digital printing makes much more sense if you’re printing small batches, especially as the quality of digital printing continues to improve.