Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing, Which Is Better?

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Digital Color Printing PressThere has been an obvious growth in the realm of digital printing technology in recent years. With this has come exciting new options for those using commercial printers. But is there still a place for traditional offset lithography? Which is better depends on what you need  printed and the quantities needed.

Understanding the difference between digital printing and offset lithography is critical in saving money on your printing cost. Since not all commercial printing companies have both types of equipment, knowing this information will help you choose which is right for you.

What is digital printing?

Digital printing is most of the time done on a heavy-duty production copy machine. Take your standard, color office copier and feed it steroids, stretch the length to 12 – 15 feet, boost the color output and you have the units commercial printers like Wilson Printing has. These digital units produce high quality color printing of company flyers, brochures, post cards and color flyers extremely fast and at a low cost per unit. Color digital printing is particularly efficient for low runs from 1 to 5000 pieces. For this reason, there has been an obvious growth in the realm of digital printing technology in recent years.

Advantages of Digital Printing:

  • Faster turnaround on color printing.
  • Every print is the same.
  • Better for the environment because of less waste due to not having to balance ink and water during press runs.
  • Especially good for low-volume jobs because of low set up and operational costs. Digital color printing can be less expensive for most low run work.
  • Small digital print runs provide a lower cost per piece.
  • Digital printing allows the use of variable data printing, allowing you to personalize your materials. This is particularly useful when doing targeted direct mail.
  • Full color printing of brochures, post cards and flyer printing service can be done quickly and at low printing cost.

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What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing has been around in one form or another for several hundred years. The technology has come a long way in that time, especially in the last 15 years. Today’s offset printing presses print very efficiently and at high rates of speed. With Offset printing an image is burned into a thin metal or polyester plate. The plate is mounted on the press and ink is put in the press. Offset presses use water mixed with a solution to dilute the ink. Once the plates are hung, the water and ink are balanced and the colors needed are matched, the job is now set up to run. This is what is referred to as “Set Up”. Wilson Printing has several offset presses that allow us to print one, two and full color printing very fast and at good prices.

Advantages of Offset printing:

  • High image quality.
  • Consistent quality.
  • Can run a variety of paper stocks efficiently.
  • The unit cost goes down as the quantity goes up. This makes cost for high runs, 5000 or more very affordable.
  • While today’s digital presses are close to the cost/benefit ratio of offset for high-quality work, they are not yet able to compete with the volume an offset press can produce.
  • Very efficient in printing large format materials like full color, cheap pocket folders.
  • Efficiently runs laser printer paper. This stock does not run well in digital presses.

Luckily when you come to Wilson Printing you don’t have to know the difference between offset and digital printing. We have both types of equipment and will decide which will run your job the most efficiently and with the least cost to you. Wilson Printing has the experience and equipment to produce the printed materials you need to run and expand your business. We are here to answer any questions you may have about digital versus offset printing. Please don’t hesitate to ask. Call us at 727-536-4173 or click this link.

Mark Hale
CEO

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