Digital Printing vs Offset Printing

Fri Aug , 2015

With advancements in technology, developments in printing techniques have also taken place. There are several ways of printing with some being more popular than the others. Offset printing has been around for decades now while digital printing is the new technology that is gaining popularity as well. Let us see how these two are different from one another and pros and cons of each.

Offset Printing:

Offset printing is done through plates that are usually made of aluminum. These plates transfer the image on them to a rubber blanket and roll out that image on paper. The term ‘offset’ means that the ink is not directly transferred to paper.

Pros of Offset Printing:

• Economical for large quantities and you can print the exact number of copies in color as well as black and white. The more you print lesser is the cost.
• Fast printing and reproduction
• Accuracy in color and quality
• Professional look and feel with customized results in gloss and matte finishes
• Several color output with great detail. Use of metallic as well as Pantone colors is possible.
• Can be used to print on various surfaces and sizes

Cons of Offset Printing:

• Cost of printing for less number of copies can be expensive
• Set up time is long
• Drying time is considerably high
• Need experienced experts to handle who are well trained to run as well as maintain the machines.

Digital Printing:

This method of printing is different from that of offset printing. It does not use plates and the ink used here is different. The ink usually used here is called toner and is similar to that used in laser printers. Earlier digital prints were used only for proof checking but over the years it has evolved as a printing alternative.

Pros of Digital Printing:

• Faster than offset printing
• Not much drying time needed
• Even one single copy can be printed. There is no need for large numbers to be printed.
• Can be used to print on various surfaces like paper, glass, metal, marble, etc
• Printers are small, easily portable and does not need technical expertise for operation

Cons of Digital Printing:

• Cost of printing is expensive when it comes to printing in large numbers.
• Color and print quality consistency is an issue
• Cannot be used to print light colors on dark colored paper
• Reproduction of colors including Pantone colors is not accurate always
• Final finish is limited to semi gloss or gloss unlike in offset where it can be customized
• Restrictions on size of paper

Now that you are aware of what offset and digital printing involve, you can choose depending upon the quality and quantity you need in a pre-set budget!