Whether you’re looking for postcards, brochures, or full-blown magazines, business print projects are an art and a science, requiring a careful balance between various factors.
One of the most fundamental considerations is the type of printing method you choose.
The good news is that you have options. You just have to know which one is the right fit for your print project. Here’s a look at two of the most popular techniques—digital printing and offset printing—and a few key factors that will help decide which one is the right fit for your print project.
What is Digital Printing?
Digital printing uses a digital press for printing projects, relying on toner and liquid ink rather than metal plates. Imagine your office inkjet or laser printer and you’re on the right track.
In order for the process to work, digital printing relies on high-resolution digital files to render the result with tiny dots of ink, in much the same way a computer renders an image using pixels. Plus, thanks to advances in digital printing technology, a casual observer would not be able to tell the difference between a digitally printed product and an offset-printed product.
This is a wildly popular option for business print projects due to its speed and cost-effectiveness.
What is Offset Printing?
Offset printing is an older process than digital printing, and these days can be more of an artisan process. Even so, you can’t argue with the results, which is why offset printing has persisted and continued to thrive.
Offset printing uses a printed plate covered in ink to transfer an image to a rubber roller, which is then rolled onto the printing surface. These days, the process also requires prepress production to ensure that all of your files are converted and correctly processed for a great print run.
Choosing the Best Option for Your Business Print Projects
How do you know which one is the best fit for your business print projects? That depends on the unique characteristics of the project in question. Some key factors that will help you make the choice between digital printing and offset printing include things like:
- Type of paper/weight of paper
- Volume of the order
Let’s break it down.
Because digital printing relies on technology comparable to an inkjet or laser printer, all you need is the file and a printing press capable of handling the order volume. It doesn’t require any additional setup.
Offset printing, on the other hand, requires several layers of preparation. You need to run prepress production. You need to prepare the plates and rubber roller. Then you have to run the print project itself.
For business print projects that demand a rapid turnaround, digital printing always wins. It offers a much faster turnaround at a cheaper price. Otherwise, you have to plan extra time in advance to allow for offset printing production time, which your printer will let you know in advance.
Type of Paper
The type of paper (or the weight of the paper) can also make the decision for you.
Paper weight refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper, rather than the weight of the sheet. Generally speaking, the heavier the paper, the thicker the sheet, which means it’s harder to bend the sheet without damaging it.
Digital printing can handle heavier paper, but it requires specialized equipment, and different paper weights and textures may not accept ink as well. Offset printing, on the other hand, can handle just about anything from regular printer paper to cardboard.
So if you need greater variety in your paper options, offset printing provides greater flexibility.
Last but not least is the volume of the order, which translates into the cost of the order.
Because the setup for offset printing is extensive, small orders aren’t economical. Digital printing, on the other hand, is fantastic for low-volume, short-run projects, even as low as one sheet. As a rule, if you’re printing less than 500 pieces for a project, digital printing will do the job nicely.
On the other hand, if you’re ordering high-volume or long-run projects, offset printing comes out on top. While it takes longer to set up, the nature of offset printing makes it more economical for large-scale business print projects.
Make Your Business Print Projects Pop
Whether you need digital printing, offset printing, or something else entirely, you’ll always get state-of-the-art technology and beautiful results when you work with Las Vegas Color Graphics. We’re the largest privately-owned commercial printing company in Nevada, with 24-hour printing shifts and diverse technology to give you the best results.
Want to see how amazing your next print project could be? Request a printing quote today to learn how our services can empower your marketing campaigns.