4 Signs You Should Choose Offset Printing Instead of Digital

When you're looking into a printing job, it's easy to rush right into putting together designs and picking out colours. However, you should also stop to think about the type of printing process that will best suit your job. Two of the most common are:

  • Offset Printing: Uses custom plates to transfer images onto rubber blankets that are then rolled across the required material.
  • Digital Printing: Images are processed digitally and before being directly or indirectly applied to the printing material, usually via laser or inkjet.

Each option has its own pros and cons, so there's really no wrong or right choice between them. That said, your needs probably suit one process better than the other. With that in mind, here are just four signs you should go for offset printing.

1. You Need the Highest Quality

Digital printing used to be of significantly lower quality than offset printing, but innovations made over the last few decades have closed that gap. That said, offset still produces slightly higher quality work. Compared to digital printing, you can expect the finished work to be sharper and clearer. You can also expect superior colour fidelity since custom colours can be mixed specifically for each job. The blended inks used in digital printing don't yet come up to the same standard.

2. You Need Larger Sheets

In general, you'll find it hard to have larger sheets printed when you go with digital. The plates used during the offset printing process can be made as large as the vast majority of projects require — in fact, the plates are so large that various products can be grouped together on the same one.

3. You Want to Print on Different Materials

It should come as no surprise to learn that both printing processes work well when you're using paper. However, you might sometimes need to print on a more unusual material, and digital printing is far less flexible in that sense. In contrast, offset printing works on almost any kind of material. If you're looking to create a more unusual marketing leaflet or print on metal or plastic for some standout business cards, offset should easily come out ahead.

4. You Need a Larger Order

When you only need a couple of hundred copies or less, digital is the way to go. Creating the plates needed for offset printing costs money and takes time, so you'll end up paying more and waiting longer than you would for digital printing when it comes to smaller orders. However, the cost of producing plates is offset by larger orders, and those larger orders can be done faster when the plates have already been produced. If you're looking at anywhere over 500 copies or so, offset is probably the way to go.

Contact a printing service with an offset printing press to learn more.