Offset vs Digital printing

Web Ninja Blog Brandon

Offset printing uses CMYK. This process uses ink and plates to transfer an image onto paper. It produces high quality cost effective results for long print runs. A single page A4 brochure would require a minimum quantity of 1000 copies to be cost effective via offset. A colour proof is generated from the approved file to be checked before printing commences, however it is not printed on the chosen stock, so final colour matching is still made ‘on press’ as the job is run. •

Digital printing can print both CMYK and RGB, although colour shifts may occur with RGB content. Short runs of any quantity less than 1000 copies are typical for digital printing. As a digital printer requires no printing plates, there is less time and expense involved in setting up a file to print. This means that a finished file can be proofed and final quantity run within a short time period. Proofs are also able to be printed on the final stock choice for accurate colour checking. 

Which process should you choose?

The differences between the two processes can decide how to print certain jobs. Price based on quantity required and available time are obviously key considerations, but as offset offers the ability to specify PMS colour, this may actually be the better choice to achieve the desired result. The final printed effect of solid areas of colour can also be an issue to consider, as digital printing can appear less impressive than offset, especially within certain colour ranges.