Why do I need to know the difference between digital printing and offset printing?
When ordering a printing job you will notice you are given the option of using two different printing methods: offset printing or digital printing. The difference between these printing methods is important because it leads to a difference in price for you at the end.
Ok, which one is cheaper?
It isn’t that simple. Both printing methods produce high quality, stunning print jobs but depending on how much you are ordering at the time will determine what print method is best for you. Let us break it down for you so you are informed when you go to order your next shipment of business cards, folders or invitations. Here at Gold Image Printing we believe being informed as a customer will save you time and money and give you the best printing experience with us.
What is offset printing?
Offset printing is the more traditional method of printing. The printer takes your image that you want to print and makes it into a plate (think of a cut out). That plate then is coated with the ink color of your choice and then is pressed neatly onto any flat material. This material is not always paper, in fact that is the beauty of offset printing. It can press onto many mediums for instance: wood, glass etc. This process is sometimes called lithography, another word for offset printing.
Offset printing requires a new plate for every new image, it also requires time for the ink to properly dry, but it makes up this speed since, unlike digital printing, it rolls the entire plate with its image at once. With offset printing you are able to mass produce products. You will see this then referred to as bulk offset printing as it is the best choice for larger orders (think +1,000 orders). We do offer smaller orders with offset, but because of the long process with the plates and the drying, smaller orders will have higher fees.
What is digital printing?
When you imagine offset you should imagine the traditional printer with giant rollers and plates and potent ink. When you imagine digital printing, you should imagine a futuristic machine. Digital printing does not use ink but instead uses lasers and positive and negative charges to put the image on the paper. The computer tells the laser what to print on the page, line by line. Sometimes printers use dry toner or toner particles, but, regardless, the whole process is moisture free, compared to the wet ink of offset printing. Thus, there are no plates of your image involved, allowing for quicker more accurate customizations. There is also no wait time for the images to dry.
What are your paper options for offset printing and digital printing? There are not many restrictions in either type of printing, allowing you to pick the exact paper you were dreaming of. Our website boasts of a great selection of paper stocks. Browse through to find the perfect paper for your Bulk offset flyers or Digital posters. Digital printing has a maximum weight of 350MG so if you are working with heavier paper or highly textured paper, stick with offset printing.
Which Type of Printing Do I Choose?
So, now that you understand the difference between offset printing and digital printing, which one is for you? Let’s highlight some of the advantages of the two types so that you can better understand your choices.
Advantages of Offset Printing
Variety of Materials
Offset printing can print on a variety of materials. Try printing on wood, paper, glass etc. Don’t limit your ideas when printing offset.
Great For Bulk Orders
This type of printing is great for big orders. When printing over 1000 or more orders of the same product, choose offset as it is a set price.
Offset printing uses real ink which allows it to have highly adjustable colors. It is great for the Panton system, as the mixing of the inks is happening in real life.
Speed With Large Orders
Offset is great because it will go a lot faster when ordering larger orders, as it doesn’t print line by line like digital printing. It prints with one roll of the printer while digital prints with a laser.
The great thing about the offset option is very print is identical as it originates from the same print. You will have better uniformity among your products.
Advantages of Digital Printing
Since it comes from a computer, digital printing allows for high resolution and a great clear picture.
With smaller jobs, digital printing is very speedy as it doesn’t need to dry or switch plates as offset would. In general, we find digital to be the fastest option is time is not on your side.
What We Offer
Now that you know which type of printing method you need, try our products! We are proud to provide many products under both types of printing methods. One specialty you will see we add to this type of printing is foil. Digital foil printing is highly popular now in the printing world and is an easy way to add elegance and shine to your products. Have a small event coming up? Print out Digital foil invitations and have your Digital foil business cards ready on display. Send out Digital foil postcards to friends or family. The options go on and on.
Having a bigger event? Want to save money on large orders? Try our many bulk offset options such as Bulk offset business cards, Bulk offset brochures, Bulk offset postcards or even Bulk offset letterheads. All these options are perfect for a business world printing loads of products a year.
Whatever your choice, know that both offset and digital are great options for your printing needs, but remember when printing large orders, print offset and when doing smaller orders, under 1,000, print digital. Whatever your need, contact us for more specifics or custom quotes.