If you’re relatively new to the world of printing, you may not know that there are different methods printers can use to print your designs. Here at Zipp Printing, we have the capability to do both digital and offset printing for your marketing materials. But what’s the difference between the two, and how do you choose which one is right for you? 

What is digital printing?

Do you have a printer in your home? If so, then you’re already somewhat familiar with digital printing. With digital printing, you essentially create files using a photo, image, or illustration software and send them to a printer over WiFi or through a cable; then, that design transfers to the paper either by laser or ink jets. 

Digital laser printers utilize electricity to “charge” the paper in the desired design. Then, a printer toner passes over the paper, only adhering to and coloring the charged spots. 

On the other hand, digital inkjet printers don’t need to charge the paper. Instead, jets spray ink onto the paper or other medium, inking the design directly onto the surface. While these printers tend to be slower than laser printers, they often yield a far more detailed result. 

What types of projects usually choose digital printing over offset?

Laser printers are wonderful, but slightly limited; typically, they can only use colors from the CMYK color palette, making certain filling elements (like gradients) a bit more difficult to achieve. However, they’re quite fast, so if you need a quick turnaround, this may be the option for you! Inkjet printers utilize the RGB color palette, which increases the amount of potential color and design options.

Digital printing and offset printing provide similar results, but people often go for digital printing because pricing is more readily available. Because digital printers are so readily available, it’s easier to know exactly what you’re going to pay and how long it’ll take to receive your order. Additionally, digital printing makes it far easier to print large-format images or text.

What is offset printing?

While offset printing is similar to digital printing in that designs can be created using computer software, it is quite different as far as production goes. The digital files do not transfer directly to the printer. Instead, they’re used to burn plates that then attach to the offset printer. The inked text or graphics transfers from the plate to a rubber blanket on the printing press; this blanket transfers the image directly onto whatever type of material is being used.

These printers come in a wide range of sizes and can print on a lot of materials. Whereas you can print a single copy using a digital printer, offset printers cannot; additionally, offset printers require a trained person to operate, as there are a lot of moving parts and steps to prepare it for printing. 

What types of projects usually choose offset printing over digital?

Offset printers are incredibly fast – way faster than digital printing. Plus, it all comes down to the size of your project. Offset printing is generally best for extensive printing that involve thousands or even millions of pages. 

Additionally, offset printing actually provides the largest possible range of colors. It doesn’t stick to either the RGB or CMYK color palettes. Bright fluorescents, Pantone colors, metallics, varnish, and even foil are applied with this method of printing.

Digital and offset printing are both great ways to create your perfect marketing materials. For all of your printing needs, make sure to reach out to our team of printing experts here at Zipp Printing. We deliver quality printing, surprisingly fast. Contact us today!