Balancing the Variables of Offset vs. Digital Printing

As two of the most popular printing methods available, offset and digital printing each offer their own unique advantages for the production of commercial materials. The printing method best suited for your business can depend on a few factors, including the number of print jobs you plan on ordering, their format size, and the materials you want to use. When you carefully weigh these factors, a winner in the offset vs. digital printing battle will clearly emerge.

Pros and Cons of Offset Printing

Offset printing transfers images onto products by way of a rubber blanket instead of requiring that their surfaces directly touch plates. If you own a local business or have one that prides itself on producing handcrafted goods, the inherent variations of offset printing can add an appropriate touch to your homegrown products.

Businesses that deal in vintage items can also benefit from using offset printing techniques, as they hearken back to an era free of digital technology. Establishments that revolve around expensive or antique goods also fit well with this type printing, as it has a reputation for producing fine finishes.

Traditionally, this type of printing has been the go-to source for marketing materials. Offset printing can easily produce up to 1,000 prints of promotional materials like booklets and brochures. It can, however, require much more time to complete compared to digital jobs because of the multiple passes needed to complete individual pieces.

Business owners on the hunt for a versatile machine capable of printing several different types of products, like thicker card stock, even plastic, cloth, and wood, will offset printers a worthwhile investment. Those who need large surfaces printed can find better luck with offset printing as well. The intricate processes of this method, including plate creation and press preparation, can necessitate higher fees, regardless of the number of prints ordered. However, prices go down when you order in bulk.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Printing

If your business faces tough competition, and if you need to produce your products fast, digital technology can ensure that you get your printed materials as soon as possible. Business owners who value consistency find that digital printing keeps their products looking similar. In addition, the ability to customize individual digital prints, such as inserting specific names and addresses, can make this solution a winner for those who value opportunities for personalization when connecting with their customers and clients.

While offset printers can make a great choice for the production of large quantities of materials, digital printers can be appealing if you anticipate smaller and more frequent runs. Generally, digital printing can easily accommodate up to 500 prints. They do not, however, offer the same range of colored inks, like Pantones and metallics, that offset printing does. Digital printing also limits paper choice, since this method restricts paper weight, texture, and size. Consider factors such as these when you're making your offset vs. digital printing decisions.