Offset Printing VS Digital Printing – Which to choose!

08 Feb

Say your business has decided to start making printed materials to advertise a new product launch. You have your budget, you know the sort of message that needs to be conveyed and you have all the information you need on your clients. Great! There’s one last thing to solve—should you have your materials be produced by offset or digital printing?

Which one should you choose and why?

Finding a satisfactory answer to this question is not easy. There’s a lot to consider, so a definite answer isn’t possible. Both printing options have their advantages. The best thing to do is to list them and see which advantages best suits your business’ needs.

Offset printingAdvantages


  • Known for good image quality
  • Paper, wood, metal, cloth, plastic, leather and rough paper are some of the printing surfaces that work very well with off-set printing.
  • As image quality goes up, the per-unit cost goes down. Better detailing and higher colour fidelity is maintained.
  • Custom inks like Pantone colours and metallic hues are available.
  • You get quality images at competitive pricing in high quantities.
  • The modern offset press uses the contemporary computer-to-plate system for magnifying the quality.

Digital printingAdvantages

digital printing

  • Every print is identical and accurate, with few variations. Less waste is produced as an equal amount of ink and water doesn’t have to be maintained during a press run.
  • Shorter and quicker turnaround time
  • Low volume printing is cheap. Although the unit cost of every print is comparatively higher than offset printing, the setup cost of digital printing has a lower per unit cost for smaller print runs.
  • Customised digital printing is, actually ‘variable data printing’. This ‘variable data printing’ is used for advertising, direct marketing and for customer relationship development.

If you’re having trouble deciding, then go through this checklist and determine what your requirements are.

Here is a checklist to help you decide:

  • Look at the quantity: Looking for very short runs that would be cost-effective as well? Then go for digital printing. But, if you have huge volumes to print and a budget to stick to, then go with offset printing.
  • More emphasis on hues: The four colour printing process is the forte of digital presses. Off-set printing can be an affordable solution if you require black ink or two ink colours maximum.
  • Fast delivery: Do you need the printing fast? Then, digital printing offers quicker delivery.
  • Colour proofing: With digital presses you get the actual sample of the print that acts as a proof. However, offset printing can get expensive when colour proofing.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, both off-set and digital methods of printing have their own benefits. The appeal of what they offer depends on what your needs, timeline and budget is. If one is better than the other shouldn’t be the question you ask. The question should be, “which will be more effective at meeting my business’ marketing goals?”.

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