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Difference Between Offset and Digital printing

laser-printer300Offset vs Digital printing

Whereas the need to print has always been an integral part of almost every business, the media craze of recent times has seen a significant surge in printing demands. Printing demands for postcards, business cards and color flyers are some of the more common examples of the factors behind the surge. As printing jobs vary in requirements and needs, printers also come in a wide range of specifications, sizes and printing methods.

The printing methods of interest here are digital and offset printing. Not only do the costs for either method differ, there are also stark differences in the series of actions required to complete a print job, for both offset and digital printing methods. Take for instance, a printing job that requires multi colored flyers, this can be accomplished using either method, but the time taken to do the job differs. Offset will require slightly more time to complete the printing than digital printing. Generally, for any printing job that will employ the use of multiple colors, offset printing will take more time to complete.

Digital printing is enhanced, and therefore is more efficient, with the ability to do jobs which require a smaller number of printed copies at a lower cost, and at excellent speeds. Offset printing will require a basic minimum number of copies per order to start a job. It will offer better quality color prints at slightly lower costs, requiring you to wait a little longer than you would for digital prints. Companies offering printing services, though, are flexible enough to offer both methods.

Printing methodology

For offset printing, Full color (CMYK) and Pantone spot color (PMS) is used. In this process, an image is transferred to paper using ink and plates. It will result in very high quality and cost effective prints for longer print runs. A minimum of 1000 copies is required for a single page A4 brochure to achieve cost effectiveness.

For digital printing, either CMYK or RGB may be used, but occurrences of color shifts may happen with RGB content. Typically, short print runs of 1000 or fewer copies are common with digital printing jobs. It takes a shorter time to set up a file to print, since there are no printing plates used. Thus, a completed file can be proofed, and the required quantity run within a shorter period of time. For accurate color checking, proofs can be printed on final stock choice.

Offset printing uses plates when transferring images, while digital printing does not use plates.
Offset printing is typically used for longer print runs (minimum 1000 copies), while digital is mainly for shorter print runs of 1000 copies or less.
Offset printing offers the ability to specify PMS color, while digital does not use PMS color selection.
Offset gives a better final printed effect of the solid areas of color, than digital.

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  1. Printing is a process of impressing letters, texts, pictures, images or figures on paper, cloth, plastic and other material. Particularly with ink on paper using a printing press. You can see this medium everywhere. It is used in news paper, brochures, business cards, invitations, magazines, books, etc. Here are the two most commonly used type of printing:
    Offset Printing ink. For working on a wide range of printing surfaces including paper, cloth, wood, leather, metal, and plastic. If you use the Pantone® Matching System, offset printing will give you the best color match. Modern offset printing inks presses use computer-to-plate (CTP) systems, shortening the work flow and reducing cost via elimination of the film.

    • Dear sir
      i want a printing machine who print in paper,cloth, plastics.

      such as Banner,new years calender,plastic bag name print etc.

      so that which machine i will beought pls infor me
      Gokul SIngh

  2. There is no hard as fast rule as to the quantity where offset printing becomes more cost effective than digital printing. Depending on the job sepcifications, the number could be 500 or less, or even higher than 1,000. Typically, the simpler the printing job, the higher the threshold. For example, a simple black ink on bond, one sided might be cheaper to produce digitally in quantities up to 3 or even 4 thousand, depending on the market.

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