Digital vs offset

What are the differences between offset and digital print? Consider your questions answered with this straightforward guide.

 

Digital printing

We only use high-end digital offset technology to deliver exceptional prints. Thanks to the minimal setup costs, digital printing offers terrific value for small print runs.

Our Instant Price Calculator knows when you need digital or litho based on the print specifications you enter. If you reach a certain quantity of prints, your quote will switch automatically from a digital press to a litho press. We usually use our digital press to fulfill your order if you print hundreds of copies.

Digital presses typically offer a faster turnaround time than litho presses. When you enter your print specifications using our calculator, it will show you which method we will use to print your items. If you see HP Indigo 7600, you'll know we will produce your work using a digital printer. 

HP Indigo printing press
HP Indigo printing press
 

 

Offset printing

Offset (litho) printing is a traditional print method. We ink and transfer your image from a metal printing plate to a rubber blanket. And from the rubber to the paper, it results in a sharp, clean print.

We use the Heidelberg Speedmaster for offset prints - an enormous printing press. It can print up to 12,500 sheets of paper per hour and is considerably faster than its digital counterpart for large print projects.

However, an offset press has a more complex setup and takes longer to complete, as we need to prepare the metal plates before print. The process adds to the upfront cost but is a better option if you plan to print thousands or tens of thousands of a particular design.

When you enter your print specifications using our calculator, it will show you which method we will use to print your items. If you see Heidelberg Speedmaster - you'll know we will produce your work using an offset printer. 

Many customers prefer the quality and finish of products printed on a large scale by an offset press. We recommend adjusting the quantities on our Instant Price Calculator until the print machine changes from Digital to Offset. You may be pleasantly surprised at the extra value we offer when you increase the number of copies.

Heidelberg Speedmaster printing press
Heidelberg Speedmaster printing press
Litho printing process
Offset printing preparation
 

Color variance

While both printers use CMYK inks, digital and litho printing presses produce slightly different colors due to differences in their manufacturing processes.

Because digital printers are ultimately industrial-scale office printers, colors appear vibrant with high contrast levels. Litho printers, on the other hand, apply wet ink to metal plates which are then pressed onto paper to transfer the image.

While litho-printed color may not always be as vibrant as digitally printed color - it is more consistent throughout the print run. It provides considerable savings when printing in high volumes. We can print high quantities using a digital press if required, so contact our print experts to arrange this and include your full print specifications.

 

Booklet cover printed on a digital and litho press