Some people believe digital printing isn’t as good as traditional, offset printing. There may be a small ounce of truth to that, but digital printing can offer solutions that offset just can’t. Digital is a clean, fast and cost-effective way to print your collateral.
The trick is knowing when to go digital.
Digital should be reserved for anything you need on a super-fast turnaround – three days or less. Digital printing is great for small run, tight-budget jobs and throw-away pieces like postcards. Digital presses can print in full-color and can print from a high-resolution pdf, cutting down file preparation time on the printer side.
Offset printing may have a longer print turn-around time (5-7 days), but the quality of the finished product is top-notch. While digital can only print process colors, offset presses can print process plus up to eight custom colors. This is ideal for printing marketing materials that require specific Pantone (PMS) colors to maintain branding standards. With offset, press operators have greater control over the output colors and they can accommodate unique and oversized print projects with many different finishing options. Offset is the best way to go for color-sensitive, high-quality pieces and is most cost effective for large-quantity print runs.
How does digital printing save you money? Press set up is significantly less – requiring less time and materials. Additionally, you save on printing plates, manpower on the press and often paper costs. All these factors help make printing small runs affordable. As digital becomes a more popular way to print, more and more paper manufacturers are offering specialty papers that have been certified for digital presses. So, you can have your fancy paper and print on it, too!
Have a project and not sure which printing path to take? Ask your printer to quote you for both options – they can also explain some of the pros and cons based on your specific job.