Offset and digital printing are both useful methods to print designs. There is a common misconception that printing is just printing, but that is not that case. Each type of printing has its separate distinctions and best uses. As two of the most advanced methods of printing, it is important to understand each and find the best technique for your upcoming print project.
Digital printing is an extremely common printing method today. In this method, a design is printed directly from the digital image to your desired medium. First previewed on a computer monitor, your design is then sent to a digital press which interacts directly with the computer. There are no additional steps; an image is quickly and easily sent to be printed on the surface of your choice. Digital printing is achieved either through Laser or Inkjet printing. Laser printing defines the area of an image on an electrically charged cylindrical drum through the use of lasers. Then the drum selectively picks up toner made of powdered ink and transfers it onto the printing surface. Meanwhile, Inkjet Printing uses droplets of ink to project onto a surface in tiny dots that comprise a final product.
Developed over a century ago, offset printing technology has unique characteristics that make it the best printing method available for large volume print runs. Offset printing is a technique that consists of a series of cylindrical rollers and etched plates that transfer a design to the desired surface, mainly paper. It uses oil-based liquid inks, which are critical to the high-quality production process. Offset printing can be used with CMYK or spot colors, and up to six colors can usually be loaded at one time depending on the characteristics of the particular press. Different than the one-step printing process of digital printing, it is referred to as offset because the ink is not transferred directly onto the surface.