Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing

What is Offset Printing?

Traditional offset printing is a print method that uses aluminum plates to transfer ink onto a rubber sheet (often referred to as a “blanket”). The image is then rolled onto the printing surface. This printing method is considered “offset” because the ink is not transferred to the paper directly.

This method is generally considered the best option when printing large quantities. Although there is a high initial cost to set up the equipment, additional units become relatively less expensive as quantity increases.

Offset printing allows for a wide range of print materials to be used during production. It allows the printer to use different paper types, custom finishes, and a wide variety of inks. The high-quality images produced through offset printing make it the preferred method, especially among graphic designers, when seeking the greatest color reproduction, detail, and professional-looking prints.

What is Digital Printing?

For digital printing, ink is transferred directly onto the surface. Rather than relying on aluminum plates and rubber blankets to transfer an image, digital printing uses liquid ink during production. Traditional home inkjet printers are one of the most common digital printing methods.

Digital printing requires no manual setup. It’s highly effective for use with smaller quantity runs. It is far more cost-effective than offset printing for low-volume projects.

Because of the lack of setup, digital printing is also a quick process, capable of completing projects on short notice or finishing a job to meet tight deadlines. Digital printing also offers maximum customization. Each piece can be customized, making this method extremely effective if a job needs personalized customer names.