Offset Printing is not something new in the age of printing. It is an integral part of the whole printing industry. There are two ways to look at this industry. If you are a printing agency, then you have regular use of this type of printing. It is extensively used in your place and a good chunk of your revenue comes from it. The second point is to look at the user point of view. You may not know what exactly Offset Printing is as there are many technical terms involved in that but you know that your requirement will be fulfilled by this printing. This is why you go ahead with the services of an agency which can take care of the requirements as desired.
This is the era of digital technology and everyone is trying to upgrade themselves. The same also goes for the printing industry. There have been many new developments happening all around the Offset Printing and you need to consider the facts about all the different types before going ahead with the one whose use fits your requirement. Although, all the developments have brought out newer dimensions in this industry and the total clarity can only come when we know in detail about digital as well as Offset Printing. There are various points to consider. Some of the common differentiating points are mentioned below –
What is Offset Printing?
To make everything simple, let us begin with the common meaning of Offset Printing. In this technique, the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket. It then moves on to the printing surface. The plates used in this technology are made up of aluminium. These plates help in the whole transfer process. The reason why it is known as Offset is because ink is indirectly transferred onto the paper. When larger quantities are required, it is the most preferred choice as they perform very smoothly once they are set up. They provide accurate color reproduction and crisp professional looking printing.
What happens in offset printing?
The process of Offset Printing is known as a lithographic process. The repulsion of oil and water is the main basis for the process of lithography. The offset printed image is separated into its fundamental colors. (It all depends on the color jobs which may be one, two, or even eight but here, we are moving ahead with four color job.) The four primary printing colors are – cyan, magenta, yellow and black. As the image is broken down into the aforementioned colors, four separate plates are made. There are two different areas on the plate. One area is receptive to the grass that holds onto the ink whereas the other area is receptive to water and repels the ink.
The plates are then put on to a press. The ink is pulled from the press and put onto the plate. External pressure is applied to the plate and the ink then imprints the image onto a rubber blanket. Finally, the four colors are printed onto each other and the image comes back. It then looks like the way it did in the PDF. The whole process happens very fast. One set of the plate is enough to make many different impressions. The process of Offset Printing is very efficient and the result is long lasting.
What is Digital Printing?
First things first. Digital Printing differs from traditional printing methods as there is no requirement of printing plates. In this type of printing method, the process is carried out from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. The document can be shared from a desktop or your personal laptop to a printing substrate. It is done by a device that accepts text and graphics output. The information is digitized or reduced to binary code in simple terms. It is done to smooth down the process of its storage and reproduction. Digital printing presses print the image directly onto the media substrate without using any metal plates.
What happens in Digital printing?
As opposed to Offset Printing, Digital printing does not require replacing of printing plates like in lithography, flexography etc. There is a quicker turnaround as compared to other traditional types of printing. There are different types of digital printing but the most used methods include inkjet or laser printers. They function by depositing pigment or toner onto a different variety of substrates like paper, metal, glass, canvas and other similar substances. In this process, most of the times, the ink does not spread throughout the substrate. A thin layer is formed on the surface that is adhered to the substrate. It is done by using a fuser fluid with a heat process or UV curing process.
What are the advantages of Offset Printing?
- The quality of the image is unbeatable. Always expect clean and distinct images without any defects.
- Offset Printing gives you better color fidelity.
- You can work with it on a wide range of printing surfaces such as paper, wood, cloth, metal, leather etc.
- If you are producing a high quantity, the unit cost goes down.
- The quality can be increased as many modern offset presses use computer-to-plate systems.
What are the advantages of Digital Printing?
- Shorter turnaround
- It is quite accurate. Every print is similar as it comes with accurate counts, lesser waste and fewer variations.
- When compared with Offset Printing, the cost of each piece may be higher but there is cheaper low volume printing.
- Each print unit can be easily customized without any hassle which does not happen in other types of traditional printing.
- If you are looking to print smaller numbers, there is no initial cost or setup.
How to select the best?
There are different parameters to select the best form of printing. Some of them are mentioned below –
- Quantity – Go for digital printing if you have less quantity and choose Offset Printing for larger quantities.
- Printing Medium – Offset printing offers more flexibility.
- Proofing – Accurate color proofing is done better with Digital Printing.