The Difference Between Digital and Offset Printing: Which Should You Choose?

Over the past 20 years, the print industry has evolved at a considerable pace. New technologies are coming out every year that provide business owners with countless options to create their required print materials.

But with so many different styles of printing now available, sometimes it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you.

For example, should you invest in an offset printing service for your next job, or digital instead?

In this post, we will take a look at exactly what digital and offset printing are, the differences between them, and which one you should choose for your next project.

Let’s get started!

What is Digital Printing?

The first digital printing press was used in the early 1990s, while the first colour digital printing press (called Indigo) made its debut in 1993.

Here’s a quick description of how the digital printing process works:

“Digital printing assembles each image from a complex set of numbers and mathematical formulas. These images are captured from a matrix of dots, called pixels, and this process is called digitizing. The digitized images are then used to control the deposition of ink, toner or exposure to electromagnetic energy to reproduce the data.” –

After all the calculations are complete, the images will be printed onto the appropriate material. These materials may include:

  • Printing paper.
  • Photo paper.
  • Canvas.
  • Fabric.
  • Synthetics.
  • Cardstock.
  • Other print materials.

In contrast to offset printing, digital printing doesn’t require any printing plates at all. PDF and other file types can be sent to the printing press to begin the process.

What is Offset Printing

The history of offset printing dates back much further than digital printing. In fact, the first appearance of the modern offset printer was in 1875, when Robert Barclay combined transfer printing technology with the rotary printing press.

Offset printing involves the use of printing plates to transfer a design onto rolls or sheets of paper. This process allows for the rapid production of repeatable print projects.

Digital Vs. Offset Printing – Which Should You Choose?

When choosing between offset and digital printing, there are a few different things you must consider.

How Many Designs Do You Need?

The number of unique designs required for a project will help determine whether you should choose digital or offset printing. For example, because offset printers require a printing plate for each project, it wouldn’t make sense to use them for projects requiring several designs.

On the other hand, digital printers can easily handle and print multiple designs at the same time.

How Fast Do You Need the Product?

If you need print materials ASAP, digital printing is the option you should go with. Unlike offset printing which takes a considerable amount of time to set up, digital printers can be set up quickly and print many unique designs at the same time.

What Quantity Are You Ordering?

When it comes to ordering large quantities of print materials, offset printing is generally your best bet. That’s because digital printing technology has not advanced far enough to a level where it makes economical sense for large projects.

Digital and Offset Printing Services in Edmonton – Budget Printing

Budget printing has been helping Edmonton businesses handle their printing needs for years. Whether you require offset or digital print services, we’ll help you with your project. Contact us today to learn more!

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