Until the mid-2000s, there was an unwritten rule: if high-quality print products were required, one would turn to offset printing. However, this unwritten law has been partially revised due to technological advancements and innovations in digital printing. The speed and colour quality of the machines have significantly improved. Thus, those wishing to print flyers or business cards today are confronted with the question: Which method is best for my product?
Good Preparation for Exceptional Results – Offset Printing
Undoubtedly, offset remains supreme. With the suitable machines, products of high quantity and superior quality can be produced in a relatively short time. Many everyday print products are derived from the offset process:
– Web Offset: Newspapers, Magazines, Books/Paperbacks, Catalogues
– Sheet-fed Offset: Flyers, Postcards, Posters, Letterheads, Business Cards, etc.
Are there downsides to offset printing? Primarily, it’s the lead time. Several steps need to be completed before the actual printing can commence:
- Expose the printing plate with the respective file template, as in offset printing the colour is applied via aluminium printing plates onto a rubber blanket and from there onto the paper pulled through the machine.
- Mount the printing plates in the printing machine.
- Adjust the colour application.
- Test print, control and correct the alignment of the four process colours (CMYK) from which the print image is composed. (Here, however, a benefit of offset printing emerges: the possible addition of special colours, critical for print products with standardised corporate identities, like business equipment or promotional materials.)
Once everything is established, operations run smoothly. Anyone who has had products made using offset printing knows about the quality of this method—be it 1,000 or 100,000 pieces. Plus, the higher the volume, the lower the unit price of the product. The human and technical effort needs to be made only once. Therefore, the price per piece in a smaller volume is relatively high.
Urgent Orders, Small Quantities – Digital Printing
A digital printing machine essentially integrates the individual tasks, required in the offset process, under one roof. It operates similarly to a laser or inkjet printer. There’s no need to create physical print templates—the transfer of the print image is done directly from the file. Also, the colour change before launching a new print job is eliminated in the digital process. This leads to a significant advantage: Digital printing allows orders to be executed very swiftly and flexibly! For instance, Doxzoo offers an instant service for various products—upon receiving the data submission, we fulfill your print orders within 60 minutes!
Since the printing in the digital method occurs directly from the file—without the detour via a printing plate/template—personalised products like customer or direct mailings can especially be created quickly and economically.
Even though technological development in digital printing is steadily advancing, differences between the methods still exist. Digital printing can only assure an affordable price for smaller quantities, as the consumption of toner or ink increases the costs for higher quantities. Depending on the machine, a transition to the offset method is more economical between 200 and 1,000 sheets.
Regarding colour reproduction or print quality: while digital print products increasingly align with offset quality, there can still be minor inaccuracies and quality variances in colour reproduction.
We Aid in Decision Making!
For those who are unsure, our team specialising in individual printing also advises on aspects of digital printing. Contact us!