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Digital and Offset Printing – Which is Better?

You must have heard of the terms digital and offset printing, but don’t know which type is best suited for your requirements! Rest assured, this is a common dilemma faced by many, as they don’t have a clearer insight regarding the differences of the two techniques.

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What is Offset Printing?

Plates made of aluminum are used to transfer an image onto a rubber blanket, which is then rolled onto a sheet of paper. The ink isn’t transferred directly, but color reproduction is excellent. Offset presses can run competently once they are set up, so more quantities can be printed if needed.

  • Printing in large quantities is much more cost-effective – in fact, the more you print, the lower is the “price per piece”.
  • You can use several paper types, along with custom finishes of your choice.
  • If you want to include special custom inks such as metallic and Pantone colors, that is possible too.
  • Crisp color fidelity, while detailing is fantastic – this is premium quality printing with a clean, professional look.

What is Digital Printing?

This method doesn’t involve plates, but uses toner or liquid ink. This option works well when lower quantities are needed – say, 25 greeting cards or 120 pamphlets.  It has variable data capability, so when each piece needs a unique code, name or address, digital is the best option. Unfortunately, offset printing can’t be tweaked to perform this functionality.

  • Installation costs are lower for short runs.
  • You can print only the amount as and when needed.
  • Minimum quantities are actually lower.
  • Black and white digital printing costs less.
  • Data capability is variable.
  • The quality is exceptional due to the advent of cutting-edge technology.

Which type of printing is best for your project?
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Both methods are great, but the requirements have to be taken into account. For instance, if you need higher volume printing that goes up to hundreds or thousands, or you have to use specific, brand-centric Pantone color, it is best to go for offset printing that is economical at 1000+ identical copies. As mentioned, specialty ink and custom papers can be utilized too. If you need short run printing of less than 100 or up to 500 copies (begins at one single copy), or individual addresses or information, then digital is a more lucrative solution.

If you are confused about which printing method to choose, please go ahead and seek professional advice.

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