Offset Printing vs Digital Printing: What are the Key Differences?

When comparing offset and digital printing, it’s important to note that neither printing method is objectively superior. The best printing method for you depends on your specific project. Digital printing and offset printing methods are used by major printers internationally, like BR Printers. Digital printing is newer than offset but offset continues to be prevalent and influential in the print industry.

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The Basics: Offset Printing

So what is offset printing? Offset printing, also known as lithography, is a traditional printing method primarily used for high-volume projects, like book printing. Offset presses uses an etched printing plate on a rotating cylinder to transfer one color of the design onto a rubber cylinder. The design is transferred from that rubber cylinder onto the printing substrate. If there is more than one color in the printed design, there will be multiple rolls the printed material will pass through until it’s complete.

This video is a great visual representation of the offset printing process.

The Basics: Digital Printing

What is digital printing? Digital print uses liquid ink or toner to apply designs directly to the print substrate, like a small home printer. This newer, simpler printing method is popular for smaller quantities of work and allows for faster personalization of print items such as direct mail. A digital press uses inkjet and laser technology to produce fast and efficient print products.

Offset Printing vs Digital Printing

Benefits of Offset Printing:

If you’re printing at a high volume, your best bet is to find an offset printer. Offset print is cost-effective for long runs and produces high-quality prints with accurate colors on a wide variety of substrates and sizes

Benefits of Digital Printing:

Digital printing is the most beneficial choice if you’re printing on demand or smaller runs. Digital print is cost-effective for short runs, fast, and allows for personalization and variable data printing.

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Find the Printer for You

Both printing methods have their strengths and weaknesses. Different jobs and projects will require different printing methods. Evaluate the priorities of your print job, are you on a tight schedule? Are you printing at a high volume? Does your printed material have variable data? Hopefully, you’ve developed a deeper understanding of the printing options available to you.

If you’re looking for a printer that can get the job done, has offset and digital options, and a national footprint, BR Printers is the printer for you. Contact us today! Start printing.

The equipment and commercial printing methods at BR Printers continue to expand as we bring on new resources and companies. Learn about our most recent acquisition, Ross4Marketing.