Some people argue that digital printing is better than other traditional printing methods and vice versa. However, deciding on the most suitable printing method is condition-based. The technological differences between digital and off-set printing lead to different costs and results. Neither is necessarily a bad choice; it’s more a matter of choosing the right method of printing depending on your needs.
Off-set printing is considered to be the more conventional style of printing where plates are used to transfer the image you want to print onto paper. The design is first burned onto the aluminium plates for each colour you are printing, and then it’s transferred to rubber rolls. In this printing method, the ink doesn’t need to be transferred; usually, the paper is run through the rolls layering on the colour. That’s why this technique results in more accurately detailed images than other analogue printing methods.
In digital printing, on the other hand, plates aren’t used. The image that needs to be printed is sent directly to the printer in a PDF and other digital formats. Even though this method of printing is fairly new, it has become popular due to the many benefits it can offer. So, how can you decide when digital printing is better than analogue methods for your project?
When faster turnaround is needed
Digital printing used to be called “copying” for a reason. Since the printer receives the design in a digital format without having to do any mechanical process for this step, it basically “copies” the design and prints it. Due to the lack of all the complicated mechanical techniques, which is otherwise required in off-set printing, digital printing manages to achieve a much faster print turnaround. This is usually calculated by summing up the estimated time for the project completion, the actual printing time, and other printing tasks that need to be completed before the final results. Digital printing doesn’t only lead to faster turnaround, but it enables companies to provide a realistic timeline. This results in easiness in meeting the promised deadline, which, sometimes, is the most important thing for many businesses.
When looking for cost-effective solutions
Since this method of printing doesn’t require the use of plates, their cost is spared from digital printing. Professionals from Little Print explain that the choice between digital printing and off-set printing when you are trying to decide on the more economical solution is based on the size of your project.
While the average number is 500 pieces, the exact order volume for this equation may still vary from one project to another. You can still decide by following the golden rule of printing of choosing digital printing for smaller quantities. When you are trying to compare the costs for analogue and digital printing methods, you need to take into consideration the front-end costs. If your order volume can cover these costs, then off-set printing is the better option for you.
When identical results are required
Analogue printing methods depend on various mechanical steps that leave huge room for error. If you have to have identical copies of the image or design you want to print, then off-set printing isn’t the best solution. With digital printing, you won’t need to worry about the balance of ink and water during the press run. Due to the lack of these mechanical processes, digital printing is the far better choice if you want to print invitations, brochures, business cards, posters, or any other marketing materials.
When handling big projects with minor variations
Digital printing has revolutionised the world of prints. In the past, it was impossible to put your hand easily on a mass-printing technique that offers variable data printing. However, since digital printing uses information from a database or other external files, it has made this dream a reality. Nowadays, customisation digital printing has given us access to print letters, invitations, and other projects with varying details such as names, addresses, and so on without stopping or even slowing down the press.
When aiming for high quality prints
In the past, offset printing was the best method of printing if you were looking for high quality. However, digital printing has managed to establish its place in the tech printing world due to the ever-evolving technological advancements. The output quality has been continuously improving at an extremely fast rate. This has allowed digital printing to become more capable of competing with off-set printing in terms of quality. With the drastically improved output and the low chances for technical errors, digital printing is definitely the more interesting option.
The elimination of many mechanical steps that are otherwise needed in off-set printing has managed to put digital printing ahead of the game. It’s considered to be a cheaper option for nearly the same output quality. If your project needs to have varying details or you want to control the execution of printing identical copies, then digital printing is the far better choice for your needs.