Comparing Offset and Digital Printing

Many enterprises still rely on paperwork to keep track of business processes, store records, advertise and communicate. They even find relevance in printed work despite the ability to do things online. If this is the case for your organisation, then you certainly understand the importance of a good-quality printer. It must deliver high-quality prints that meet the specific requirements of your business. The colour density, font size and contrast have to be right at all times. In this piece, you will learn about offset and digital printing. Laying this information side by side will help you make the right choice between the two.

Defining Offset Printing

Offset printing refers to the use of etched metal plates to apply ink to a sheet of paper. The metal plates rely on a set of rollers to press against the paper while delivering the ink. The rollers are also referred to as drums or cylinders. The first roller, usually referred to as the plate cylinder, comprises a thin plastic or aluminium plate. These cylinders are customised for specific print jobs and have the image that you want to transfer to your pieces of paper. As they spin, they contact other plates in the sequence. Specially treated ink sticks to the paper while a water solution repels other areas that do not have an image.


  • Offset printing is cost-friendly for printing large volumes of paperwork.
  • You can use various types of paper to achieve different kinds of finishes.
  • There is excellent printing quality with proper attention to colour details.

Defining Digital Printing

Digital printing differs from offset printing. It does not use plates to execute the printing. Instead, digital printing employs liquid ink or toners to deliver the print that you want. The printing process here is straightforward from ink or toner to the paper. On the contrary, offset printing derives its name from the action of the plates, as they 'offset' the print from one plate to the other until it reaches the paper.


  • Lower set-up costs compared to offset printing, especially when printing is intermittent and occasional.
  • Prints the amounts you need and at only the times you need them.
  • Ability to modify data on-need basis including addresses, numbering and codes.

Offset and digital printing are essential printing methods you can use in modern business set-ups. However, you are better off with a technique that can accommodate both small- and large-scale printing needs. This is what makes offset printing stand out in the comparison.

Contact an offset printing press to learn more.