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The Advantages of and Differences Between Offset and Digital Printing.

If you’ve been researching your options for your next printing project in Portland or beyond, then you may be wondering about the difference between digital and offset printing.

So what differentiates these two printing technologies that you may only know a very little about? Are there certain advantages to choosing one over the other? And most importantly, which style of printing, digital or offset, is actually best for your needs and your budget?

Old School Printing Versus New Printing Methods

While much technological advancement has taken place in the world of offset printing, the process itself is quite old. It was first used way back in 1875, when Robert Barclay patented the first rotary offset lithographic printing press.

Since then, offset printing has evolved, adopting rubber cylinders for sharper printing results, and then much later, integrating computer control. Offset printing may be based on an old idea, but it’s still the most common means of creating printed materials.

In contrast, digital printing is a relatively new means of producing printed materials. In general, modern digital printers apply ink in a single pass from a solitary ink head, much like home printers do.

Offset Printing Advantages

Offset printing is typically regarded as the technology of choice when a high-quality finished product is a must. While digital printing technology has made great strides, many industry experts would agree that offset printers produce superior results.

offset printing advantages

Offset printers are able to print on a wider range of materials than their digital counterparts. They’re capable of embellishing wood, metal, leather, plastic, and a wide array of other surfaces.

While any offset printing run incurs substantial up-front costs, once the necessary printing plates have been produced and the presses set up, the subsequent expense of producing high-volume runs of identical materials is relatively minimal. Basically, with offset printing, the more you print, the cheaper each print becomes.

Digital Printing Advantages

Digital printing eliminates much of the set-up work associated with offset lithography, which is one of its key advantages. There’s no need for films, color proofs, or expensive printing plates, so initial costs are lower when you choose to go with digital printing for a project like printing marketing brochures, for example. This diminished need for prep also allows digital printers to complete jobs in short order, making them ideal for projects needed on short notice.

With digital printing, every print is identical, so there’s not as much variation or waste as one typically experiences with offset printing. And because digital printing is highly customizable, it’s possible to personalize each iteration of a given design, which is extremely useful when sending out customized direct marketing materials.

Which Kind of Printing Is Best for Your Job?

Well, that depends on the nature of your next printing job. If you’re not in a huge hurry, and plan to produce a large quantity of whatever it is you’re printing, then offset printing is the clear winner. It’s also the method of choice if you’d like to print on novel materials.

But if you’re producing a short-run project and would like it done relatively quickly, then you’re probably better off choosing the digital printing option. Digital also has the edge when it comes to customization, and the fact that it allows for the easy production of proofs will allow you to double-check the look of your project before you order a large number of copies.

Either way you choose to go for your next printing project, you can call East Side Printing Co. in Portland. We’ll coach you through the project, making sure you choose the best method for your budget and your needs. We’ll also get you the best rates on both offset and digital printing, and we’ll even deliver to your doorstep in the Portland metro area! Contact East Side Printing Co. in PDX now for a free quote in 24 hours or less!

[Photo Credit: Executive Printers]