Offset printing vs. digital printing - what's the difference?

Depending on the product, print run or paper, digital or offset printing is used. But what is actually the difference?

Digital printing
In digital printing, data is transferred directly from a computer to a digital printing press. Laser technology selectively applies colors to the paper, creating a copy from electrical charges to guarantee an accurate image. 

Offset printing
The offset printing process is a lot more complex. The ink is not simply printed directly onto the paper, but must first pass through a large number of rollers, then be transferred from the printing plate to the blanket cylinder and from the blanket cylinder to the paper. One printing plate is exposed for each printing color (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Printing plates are made of sheet metal and are coated in such a way that they accept ink wherever a subject is to be printed. This is then transferred to the paper. The printing plate is then clamped into the press by the printing technologist and the printing process can begin.

When to use which printing process?
Offset printing is known for its outstanding quality. The motifs are printed with razor-sharp edges and a very fine screen that is barely visible to the naked eye. Another advantage is that special colors such as Pantone can be printed. Due to the large amount of work involved, this printing process is usually only used for large print runs of over 300 copies. 

 In recent years, however, digital printing has also improved significantly in terms of quality and gained in importance thanks to its flexibility. To the naked eye, someone who does not come from the printing industry often hardly recognizes the difference between offset and digital printing. A major advantage of the digital printing process is that even short runs with exemplary customization can be printed at favorable conditions. Another advantage is the short setup time, which allows faster delivery times. This is because there is no need to expose the printing plates at all.

Offset printing and digital printing both have their advantages. Our printing experts will advise you at any time so that you can soon hold your perfect flyers, business cards, brochures or other print products in your hands.


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