We are often asked questions on the difference between digital and offset printing. We have answered this question in the past and we can admit it can be a bit confusing. So, we have broken it up into categories so you can get a better understanding of the difference. Here is how to decide which is best for your project.
Digital printing is ideal for low volume printing. Offset printing is ideal for large volume printing.
Digital printing can accommodate smaller print sizes as big as 12 x 18. Offset printing is more flexible with printing on larger sheets.
Digital Printing presses are capable of high quality prints, but problems in colour sometimes occur. Offset printing produces sharp, clean, high quality images.
Digital printing can sometimes be limiting in colour matching especially to pantone colours. Offset can print any Pantone or PMS colour.
It usually depends on the volume of printing as well as the company you are using. However Digital printing is usually cheaper because there is less set up required and there is less ink used. Offset printing can be more expensive because of the set up needed, the run time and ink used.
Digital printing is limited in finishing options. Offset printing is more flexible with the finishing options because it has multiple press heads.
Digital Printers are usually limited to basic materials such as paper. Offset printers offer a variety of printing materials such as plastic, wood, metal.
Digital printing usually has faster turnaround times because of the easier setup of process. Offset printing takes longer to print because of the setup process and drying times.
Digital printing is great for creating customized copies, such as different names or addresses. Offset printing is limited to what is on the plate so it is not as customizable.
Digital printing uses fuser fluids with heat process (toner) or UV curing process (ink). Offset printing uses inks that are highly viscous or thick.