Offset or digital printing: technical features and order examples

Offset or digital printing: technical features and order examples


Which path is best for bringing your ideas to paper? Digital printing, with its flexibility and efficiency, or offset technology, which is traditionally associated with high quality and large print runs? Let's figure it out together.

Digital printing

If we briefly describe the features of digital printing, this technology uses electronic data to directly transfer an image to a surface. Its main advantages:

  • Flexibility of personalization. Digital technology allows you to individually “customize” each individual print, adding patterns, personal messages, photographs and any other data, which is especially valuable for marketing materials.
  • Responsiveness. The absence of lengthy pre-press preparation ensures high speed of order production, literally today.
  • Minimum preparation costs make small or even single runs economically viable.
  • Sustainability. The environmental aspect is directly related to the ability to print exactly as much as you need.
  • Versatility. Modern digital machines print almost anything - from small business cards to packaging and labels. At the same time, if previously digital was associated with lower print quality, today it is completely on par with, and sometimes even surpasses, offset. For example, the advanced Xerox Iridesse, installed in our Wolf Printing House, can print not only with conventional color toners, but also with white, gold, silver, transparent in various combinations and on a completely variety of designer papers.

Variable label design and personalized booklets are your way to achieve a wow effect and launch unique advertising campaigns easily and simply.

Offset printing

If we briefly describe the essence of offset technology, here the image is first transferred to a printed metal form, then from it to a rubber roller and then to paper. Preparing printing plates takes time and requires resources, so starting the process for a small print run is not profitable.

An offset press uses separate printing plates for each color (most often cyan, magenta, yellow and black - CMYK). By mixing them, all other colors are obtained and it is important that they exactly match the original idea. This also requires a little experimentation and sending some of the paper to waste paper, although in modern machines the settings are automated and you can get the perfect print quite quickly.

Also, modern machines often have additional printing sections for inks of a certain color (the so-called Pantone), which makes it possible to improve color rendition. The main advantages of offset:

  • Savings on large runs. Moreover, the larger the circulation, the lower the cost of each print.
  • Expanded selection of materials, possibility of using designer cardboards.
  • Variety of special coatings and other finishing options.

Offset printing also makes it possible to produce a wide variety of products from paper and cardboard. Among the most common offset orders are books, magazines, catalogs, promotional materials, and cardboard packaging.

Thus, digital printing is optimal for small and medium-sized print runs, one-off and personalized products. Offset printing requires large print runs.

At the same time, modern printing machines are so automated that the boundaries are blurred. Industrial digital machines do an excellent job with large runs on “complex” materials, for example, films or designer cardboard, while offset machines can be changed from run to run in a matter of seconds and produce a sold print.

Our professional managers will be happy to advise on all issues that may arise when creating an order and will help you make a comparison and choose the most optimal technology in terms of quality and cost for a specific order. Contact us now!