Printing Tips: Choosing Digital Vs. Offset Printing


Digital vs offset printing checklistSo, you’ve finished creating your logo design, business cards, stationery design, poster art or magazine and now, you need to have it printed. You understand the differences between digital printing and offset printing because you read my post, Digital vs. Offset Printing, but you’re still a little confused. Which is the best printing process for you project? Is there a checklist that can help you make your decision? There is now.

Below is a list of 4 questions that you should ask yourself when you are trying to decide which process, digital or offset, is best for you:

1. What are you going to be printing your design on?
This is the first thing that you should consider when you are trying to decide which printing method you should use. Your answer could help you make your final decision very quickly and easily.

If you are printing on a diverse surface such as wood, cloth, leather, plastic or metal, offset printing is the best printing process for you. If however, you are printing on paper, both digital and offset printing can be used and you need to ask yourself more questions.

2. How many copies are you going to be printing?
In general, if you have a small job, it will probably be a lot cheaper to have it printed digitally. If however, you have a larger order then, you should compare quotes from both a digital printer and an offset printer. Offset printing tends to have a high initial set up cost so the majority of the time, it is better to go with digital printing for smaller orders. If however, you have a larger order, offset printing may be cheaper. As the number of copies to be printed increases, the overall unit cost of offset printing goes way down thus balancing out its high initial set up cost and making it the cheaper option when compared to digital printing.

3. Are you on a tight deadline?
Digital printing is much faster than offset printing. Offset printing is a much more involved process and takes longer to set up. If you are in a rush or need your project to be printed quickly, have it printed by a digital printer.

4. How many colours are being used in your design? Are you using any Pantone colours?
Digital printing simulates colours using CMYK, a four-colour process. Offset printing uses actual Pantone inks. If you are printing a design that uses many colours, digital printing may be cheaper than offset printing. On the other hand, if you are printing a design that uses only one or two colours, offset printing may be cheaper than digital printing. If you are having anything printed with Pantone inks, offset printing is what you want. Finally, because digital printers simulate colours using a four-colour process, your colours may not be 100% accurate. If exact colours are important to you, go with offset printing.

Regardless of which printing method you end up choosing, make sure that you always ask your printer for a proof before sending your job for its full run.

This post compliments a post that I wrote last week, Digital vs offset printing.

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