Considerations for Using Digital vs. Offset Printing

Depending on the type and scale of the project you’re printing, one method may work better for you than the other. Let’s learn a little bit about digital and offset printing so that you can make your decision with confidence. These are just a few considerations for using digital vs. offset printing.

Size and Scale

People have used offset printing since the 19th century. It uses large metal plates to transfer ink onto paper. People refer to this method as “offset” because it doesn’t apply ink directly to the paper. If you need to print a large piece, like a poster or a big book cover, offset may be the right choice for you. In addition, if your book or other project is in for a long run, offset printing will be more viable than digital.

Digital printing works more effectively for short or limited runs and uses smaller paper than offset printing. The digital printer uses electrostatic drums to apply ink and toner directly to the paper. Due to its smaller size and ease of setup, it’s a perfect choice for content that changes constantly.

Color Quality

Offset printing is a more elaborate process, but it can also use Pantone colors and metallic inks with no problems. This method is a top choice for colorful and intricate projects.

Digital printers can’t read Pantone colors or handle metallic ink. However, they’re quick, crisp, and perfect for minimalist styles. Take your design to a commercial printing business and ask whether digital printing is right for you.

Time and Costs

Offset printers take much more time to set up than digital printers. The method has been around for over 100 years, and the process takes as much time now as it did then. Ink and custom metal plates are more costly than printer cartridges, but once you’re all set up, you can easily print 2,000 copies of your book or booklet.

Digital printers come with a much lower upfront cost. The ink is cheaper, and with no need for custom etched plates, you can start printing right away. For a few hundred copies of a booklet or flyer, take your project to a commercial printing business—digital printing is a snap!

When you prepare your project for printing, the method you use will affect the quality of the finished product. Choose the method that will best fit your design with the help of House of Printing. Remember our considerations for offset vs. digital printing as you make your decision.