The Difference Between Digital And Offset Printing

If you are a business owner who needs signs produced for marketing and advertising, there are a few ways to go about getting them printed. If you are trying to find the most cost effective and efficient printing method, you will need to know the differences between digital printing and offset printing.

Offset Printing

This printing method has been around for over 100 years, and for many of those years it was one of the only ways to print quality materials such as magazines, signs, business cards and other projects. The first four-color plate offset printer in Canada was used in 1905. Because it has been around for so long, the craft has been perfected so that the quality is very high.

With offset printing, the ink gets burned onto plates and then transferred to paper. Because of the extra set up time and materials, there is usually an extra fee. One major advantage offset printing offers is that it is the most cost-effective way to print large quantities of the same product. When it comes to cost, there is a catch. If you choose to print a larger quantity, say 2,000 instead of 1,500, your price per unit usually decreases and your set-up fee gets absorbed. Many print shops will not use their offset printer for quantities less than 1,000.

Digital Printing

In the early 1990s, some printers in Canada began using digital print. Throughout the years, this type of printing has becoming extremely popular and the quality has greatly increased. Whatever gets saved on your computer gets transferred to the digital printer. Most printers accept files in certain formats, such as a PDF, which can be saved on a flash drive or can be e-mailed directly to the printer.

With digital printing, there is usually no set-up fee and it is more cost effective for shorter print runs. Whether you need just one sign or 50 of them, digital printing will give you the most bang for your buck. Generally, the print shop will keep your file on hand so that, when you need another sign made, they will be able to get it quickly printed. If it seems digital printing is a no-brainer, you will need to be aware there are limitations:

  • Unable to print all sizes
  • Unable to print on all weights of paper
  • Unable to print on certain types of paper such as metallic

Now that you better understand the differences between digital and offset printing, you can make a better decision for getting your signs printed. For more information, contact a company like Houston Signs Ltd.


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