Offset Printing or Digital Printing: What's best for you?

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With today’s advancement in printing technology, there are a lot of types of industrial printing processes available, like Offset Lithography, Digital Printing, Flexography, and Screen Printing. This leaves marketers puzzled and they are not quite sure of what’s best for their requirement. The most commonly preferred printing types are Offset Printing and Digital Printing for their ease of use.

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Offset Printing or Digital Printing: Whats best for you With today’s advancement in printing technology there are a lot of types of industrial printing processes available like Offset Lithography Digital Printing Flexography and Screen Printing. This leaves marketers puzzled and they are not quite sure of what’s best for their requirement. The most commonly preferred printing types are Offset Printing and Digital Printing for their ease of use. What is Offset Printing Offset printing is the most traditional and commonly used methods of image reproduction where the image is broken down into the CMYK colours and is laser-etched separately onto four metal plates one for each colour where each of them offsets the ink impression on to a rubber blanket which is then transferred onto paper. The process needs multiple trial runs or test prints before finally arriving at the right print quality. They also allow the use of specialized ink like Pantone metallic or fluoro. What is Digital Printing In digital printing the computer image files are directly sent to the press to be printed on to paper. They do not use metal sheets and also use very less ink that is in the form of fine powder and hence does not permeate any substrate. It rather forms a thin layer on the surface that is fused on to the paper under high heat. There are five key points to consider while debating between the two. 1. Quantity: The number of printed outputs required would be the most primary factor to consider the type of printing. Since offset printing involves a longer process of setting up and involves trial run wastages the costs are higher which is offset while printing large quantities of over 250 copies or more. Hence for smaller quantities digital printing is recommended as it is quick and the quality of the print is almost on par as that of offset at a much lesser cost. 2. Turn-around time: Digital printing is quick and easy and allows a 24-hour turnaround time for a reasonable quantity of prints. This is a major limitation of offset printing which involves a lot of steps and trial runs to get the right ink fountain settings for the required quality of output.

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3. Size of the printed output: Although offset printers provide superior quality of printed material it has certain limitations. Offset printers can only print within the size of 28 X 22 inches. So for printed outputs larger than that large format digital printing is your solution. 4. Image quality: The offset printing process creates a crisp and clear image output. It also allows the use of specialized ink like Pantone which although expensive can improve image quality to a great extent as would be the requirement from larger businesses. 5. Customization: This is a major advantage in digital printing. With its dedicated software it allows variable data input in order to customize each print work.

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