The Pros And Cons Of Digital And Offset Printing

Anyone tasked with a commercial or even private printing project, need to familiarise themselves with the pros and cons of digital and offset printing as they are bound to come across these two terms.

Each of these printing methods is quite different from the other, and as such, suited to different types of projects.

Before making a choice between the two, it is essential to take the time to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options against the project requirements.

Here’s a short description of the main advantages and disadvantages of offset and digital printing.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is a modern printing technique that relies on the use of high-tech laser and inkjet printers.

Toner and ink are applied directly onto the printing paper, eliminating the use of the printing plates used in offset printing.

Laser printers attract toner particles to the paper using an electric charge from a metal drum.

Inkjet printers, on the other hand, spray ink onto the print paper using tiny nozzles.  

Digital Printing Pros

  • Fast turnaround: Digital printing does not require any setup. This means that printing jobs do not take a long time to complete.

This printing technique is therefore suited to projects that come with a tight deadline.

  • Easier customisation: Digital printing allows for easy and fast customisation of print details.

Customising each piece of paper being printed does not require any time-consuming changes in the printing set up.

  • Printing a lower volume of materials is cheaper: Digital printing is generally the best option when it comes to printing low volume jobs on a budget.
  • Proofing: With digital printing, producing a highly accurate sample of a detailed image can be done quickly and inexpensively.

This makes proofing work much easier.

Digital Printing Cons

  • Unsuitable for large jobs: Even though digital printing is known for its fast turnaround times and is more affordable in the case of low volume print jobs, it is costlier when it comes to high volume print jobs.
  • Lower colour quality: Digital printing is considered to be a modern printing method; however, it struggles when it comes to matching the print and colour quality seen with offset printing.

Offset Printing

In this printing method, the image is not transferred onto the print material directly, instead of being offset through a metal plate and roller system.

As the oldest printing method known to man, offset printing follows a simple process.

The image to be printed is burned onto metal plates which are used to transfer it onto rubber rollers before being printed onto the printing paper/medium.

Offset Printing Pros

  • High-quality prints and colours: Over the years, the Pantone Matching System and technological advancements have improved the quality and accuracy delivered through the computer to plate printing system.
  • Great for large jobs: Even with the high initial set up costs, unit printing costs decrease significantly for high volume printing jobs.
  • Wider variety of print materials: The offset printing process supports the use of a variety of print materials.

Offset Printing Cons

  • Customisation is a huge challenge: Customisation is hindered by the need to change the printing set up, which usually takes a lot of time.  
  • Costlier for low volume jobs: This method is a poor match for low volume print jobs, as the unit cost increases substantially.

Learn more about different types of printing here.

Summary

Making a choice between digital printing and offset printing depends on how well the job requirements, such as budget, volume and print quality, match each printing technique.

Before making a final decision, it is important to find out the specifics of the printing job at hand.

Are you looking for a top quality digital printing service? Then look no further than Impact Digital.

Impact Digital is a reliable and trusted digital printing service with more than 10 years of experience in the industry.

If you are looking for the best quality digital printing with the most competitive prices, please contact us today on (03) 9387 0999 or email us general@impactdigital.com.au

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