Whether you’re looking to have banners, brochures, business cards or wall art finishes, you always want the results to be of extremely high-quality. It’s important to then understand the advantages and disadvantages of the printing processes and technologies you’re considering. Offset printing and digital printing are two of the most common printing technologies people opt for based on the processes of high performance, reliability and quality.

How do you choose between the two? Below, we explain offset printing and digital printing to help you decide which printing technology is best for your project.

Offset Printing: Explained

Offset printing is a technique where an inked picture is transferred from the printing plate onto a rubber blanket, then onto the offset printing surface. This specific printing technology is most effective for larger printing projects and provides high detail colour reproduction that presents a professional, high-quality product. This printing process is primarily used for envelopes, brochures, key tags and postures. These printers can print in one colour, two colours or full colour.

Digital Printing: Explained

Digital printing is a printing technique that involves the toner sitting on top of a slip of paper instead of being directly absorbed by it. This process uses the toner in a solution of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black dots to produce the image. Digital printing is primarily used for short-run projects using a large format, and inkjet printer or a high volume laser.

The Differences Between Offset Printing and Digital Printing

There are a few differences between the two printing processes, including:

  • Cost: Offset printing prices often decrease as the unit number raises because of the original cost to install the machine and plate. The offset printer has to be consistently washed between print projects for colour changes. Digital printing is most inexpensive for short-run printing projects based on its cheaper set-up cost. However, there is an increasingly higher cost per unit and more cost-effective for units up to 500.
  • Colour Representation: Offset printing offers colour controls which can be more effective than digital printing. Offset uses certain ink, including Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Pantone colours are often more visible and accurate on offset printing because they are using Pantone ink. Digital printing uses CMYK colour mode, which prints in grayscale and may not be able to match colours as precisely as Pantone.
  • Turnaround Time: As the set-up, maintenance of the printer and often more print requests and quantities, the turnaround time can be much longer than digital printing. Digital printing, however, may be more effective for smaller quantity printing projects that may not require the same maintenance and set-up between each print job, which results in quicker turnaround time.

Lamin-8 is a digital printing and fine art finishing company in Toronto, providing high-quality, affordable printing and laminating services. We are always meticulous with each printing project we complete to ensure exceptional customer service and print results for your business or personal use. Contact us for a quote on your next print project.