Offset vs. Digital Printing: What You Need to Know

Offset vs. Digital Printing

You may be well aware of the fact that design plays a key role, whenever you are looking forward to choosing printed marketing material like flyers, business cards, brochures, etc. Producing the final design involves a lot of hard work. From the layout to the graphics, this stuff needs to be carefully designed. In this regard, it is quite natural that you want the final project to look its best. But this does not mean that you will end up overlooking how it is going to be printed. 

As a designer, you need to necessarily design which printing technique to choose for your project. Although, you will find the availability of many different options to pick from. The two most popular ones include digital and offset printing. 

If you are confused between these two options, then you are in the right place as in this comprehensive guide, we will focus on talking about everything that you need to know about digital and offset printing. So, now, let’s dig into the detailed discussion without wasting any further time:

What Is Referred To As Offset Printing?

Magazines, catalogs, and newspapers have been made utilizing offset printing for years. Also, known as lithography, offset is the most common printing technique that is utilized for commercial jobs. 

This particular technique mainly utilizes plates made from aluminum which is again used for transferring an image onto a rubber blanket. And finally, the image is rolled onto a sheet of paper. Generally, four colors are used in an offset printing project which includes CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key). Almost every color that you would need for your design can be made from these four colors. Even the offset printing employs superb Pantone colors as well. 

What Are The Key Benefits Of Offset Printing? 

Offset printing comes with many amazing benefits. We will focus on discussing some of its key benefits in the following section: 

  • Higher Print Quality: Offset can be the best option for you to choose, in case you want your print project to be of top-notch quality. 
  • Cheaper Option Especially For Huge Quantities: Offset printing will help to save your money in case you are undertaking a large run of the project. You will again find that the price per piece in this case is cheaper when compared to the digital. 
  • Perfect Color Match: If you are utilizing offset particularly as your printing technique, then you will find the colors to be exact. Again, the colors can be easily adjusted for matching any particular color you want. 

What Are The Limitations Of Offset Printing?

Similar to all other techniques, offset printing also comes with some limitations which are as follows:

  • Higher Risk: The risk associated with the offset printing technique is considerably higher. Although mistakes can happen to anyone, if you catch any mistake, in this case, you will have to start over the entire process from the beginning. It means that you will have to create new plates with the correct version. 
  • Longer Turnaround Time: The turnaround time, in this case, is longer as it is a more labor-intensive process. When compared to digital printing, the offset printing process involves making plates and getting the colors to match exactly which again takes a little more time. 
  • Bigger Up-Front Investment: Although offset is a cheaper option than digital, especially in terms of price per sheet, you will find that the up-front in this case is higher because of the custom-made plates. 

What Is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is regarded as one of the latest printing techniques that are heavily utilized in the industry these days. As already mentioned in the above section, the offset printing technique is carried out by utilizing plates. On the other hand, the process of digital printing does not use any plates. Instead, every piece is separately printed on the paper. Just, you need to upload the digital files like PDFs into the printer and your work is done. 

What Are The Major Benefits Of Digital Printing? 

To understand digital printing in detail, you need to first get an idea about the benefits of this technique. We will focus on discussing these pros in the following section:

  • Allows For Variable Data: The allowance of variable data is regarded as one of the most important benefits that you can reap from printing digitally, especially through print shop software. It is incredibly easier to change individual info all through a digital print job. For instance, in case you need to send a direct mail campaign with 250 distinct addresses, then you would be able to successfully do so without any extra effort or time, by using this specific technique. 
  • Cost-Effective Short Runs: The cost of digital printing is much cheaper when compared to offset printing. So, irrespective of whether you require to print 200 business cards or 20 pamphlets, digital printing is the best option to choose. 
  • Swiffer Turnaround Time: As less labor-intensive processes are used in the case of digital printing and so, it allows for a much swifter turnaround time. 

What Are The Cons Of Digital Printing?

  • Limited Range Of Printable Fabrics: The printable fabrics range is limited in this case. 
  • Less Durable Print: The quality of print that you get in the case of digital printing is not that durable. 
  • Failure To Reproduce The Color White: You will find that the color white cannot be reproduced within the print. 
  • Fixed Pricing: If you have a requirement for bulk printing, then you would fail to get the advantage of cost reductions because of the fixed pricing in this case. 
  • Somewhat Lower Quality: Whenever you are printing on digital, you will find a bit decrease in the quality of your project. Also, you will find that the images are not that crisp, and the colors are a little tougher to match. 

Which Option To Choose In Between These Two?

Now, if you are confused about which particular option to choose, then you should ask yourself certain questions which are as follows:

  • Does the quality of print matter to me a lot?
  • Am I in a hurry?
  • How many pieces do I require for getting printed? 

Concluding Thoughts

So, the above-discussed ones are some of the important things which you must know about offset and digital printing. Hopefully, you have found this detailed guide to be very helpful. 

If you need any sort of related assistance in terms of designing, then it would be a good idea to reach out to a professional print service provider. They will help to successfully reach your objectives by utilizing the best-in-class web to print software. Contact these experts today to know more. 

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