If you’ve been investigating the best way to print marketing materials for your business, you’ve probably come across the terms offset printing and digital printing. What are these? Offset printing is the traditional method you probably think of regarding commercial printing presses; custom plates are used to apply ink to whatever you need printed. Digital printing is a newer method, but has quickly been gaining popularity in the last decade. You may even be more familiar with the process than you think:
What Is the Process?
Commercial digital printing is actually very similar to the inkjet and laser printers you might use at home or in your office, just on a different scale. Though the technology is essentially the same, the term usually refers to when these processes are used on large-format or high-volume printers, rather than when a user prints something at home. The defining characteristic of digital printing is that an image is printed from a digital file, with no analog intermediary such as a plate or engraving.
What Can It Be Used For?
Digital printing can be used on a variety of substrates, including paper, wood, canvas, glass, metal or practically any other material. This means digital printing companies produce, for the most part, all the same products as traditional printing companies: flyers, brochures, posters, advertising banners, bookmarks and more. Often, the same printing company will even allow you to choose which method to use for any given print job.
What Are the Advantages of Going Digital?
The greatest advantage of digital printing is that it has an extremely fast turnaround time, since no plates need to be created. The cost of digital printing varies depending on how many of any particular item you need printed; digital printing actually has a higher cost per page than offset printing, so anyone requiring thousands of brochures would save money by having a custom plate created. But digital printing can be far more affordable for projects with low runs. It is certainly the best choice when only a single print is being made. It’s also the smartest way to print items that need individual customization, such as direct mail pieces.
What kind of printing has your business used in the past? Do you think you’ve made the right choice, or will you be switching based on this new information? Share in the comments.