Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing Services: Which Do You Need?

Offset printing and digital printing are different.

Although both platforms deliver high-quality results for a reasonable price, the method of printing you choose will depend on the size, nature and urgency of your project.

Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing Services

Offset Printing Services Pros & Cons

The Pros

Offset printing provides exceptional quality, perfect for those projects with high-resolution graphics and photographic images. It also offers a low (potentially very low) per-unit cost — as long as you need a larger run. In other words, the more units you need, the less each piece will cost.

This approach gives you much greater flexibility in your ink color choices as well as your printing medium choices. Offset printing is the way to go for projects requiring Pantone color matching. It may also be necessary for extra-large prints that exceed the limits of the digital print machines.

The Cons

The primary downside to offset is that it takes longer to complete a project, because of how the equipment must be set up and how long it takes the ink to dry.

Digital Printing Services Pros & Cons

The Pros

Digital is fast — screaming fast — because it requires virtually no setup or drying time. If you only need a short run, the cost is likely to be lower than offset. If you need a longer run, however, the cost per-unit will not decline like it does for an offset run.

Digital printing allows you to run personalized prints, such as mailers with a name and address or any other items that will have slightly different designs on each piece. While you cannot get personalization with offset printing, you can create offset prints and then run them through the digital press to add the personalized elements. Give us a call at Sun Print Solutions if this is something you’re interested in. We’re happy to help you plan the project that will best meet your needs!

The Cons

Although today’s digital printing technology allows us to provide a high-quality result, it is not as high-resolution as offset in most cases.

You are limited with regard to the types of media you can print on; however, digital does a fabulous job on most relatively smooth paper stock. Digital technology cannot duplicate Pantone colors or do any metallic printing.

How to Determine Whether You Need Digital or Offset

To determine which approach is best for your project, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What medium do I need this job printed on?
  2. How quickly do I need my order completed?
  3. How large is my order (i.e., how many units do I need?)
  4. What is my budget for this project?

If you need your order printed on anything other than fairly smooth paper or light-duty cardstock, choose offset printing. If you need the job done yesterday, choose digital. If you need a large run and budget and/or quality is a concern, offset is the way to go.

If you would rather avoid the guesswork, ask your local printing company which approach is better, based on your goals and budget. Today’s printing technology has advanced to the point where both approaches can produce exceptional, quality results.

Sun Print Solutions offers both types of services to our customers in Utah. We are always happy to answer your questions and help you make the right choice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with all of your offset and digital printing needs.

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