Difference Between Offset Printing and Digital Printing

We utilize a lot of printed stuff these days. The printing method for these materials changes between offset and digital printing. Offset and digital printing are both effective technologies.

Depending on the needs of your project, each offers distinct advantages. It is critical to distinguish between the two in order to make an informed decision for your product requirements. 

Offset Printing vs Digital Printing

The main difference between offset and digital printing is that offset printing uses the structure of metal plates to print ink on a surface and digital printing uses electrostatic rollers. The offset printing method can print larger sheet sizes, but the digital printing method prints comparatively smaller sheet sizes.

Offset Printing vs Digital Printing

The offset printing method uses plates, often made of metal, to transmit an impression onto a rubber “blanket” before rolling that impression onto a piece of paper.

Since the ink is not deposited directly onto the paper, it is referred to as offset printing. Offset printing is the greatest option when huge numbers are required since offset presses work so effectively once they are set up.

Digital printing is a way of printing straight from a digital photo to a variety of surfaces. It is more expensive per page. It, unlike printing technology, does not require plates, but rather toner (as in laser printers) or bigger printers that do use liquid ink.

Comparison Table Between Offset Printing and Digital Printing

Parameters of ComparisonOffset PrintingDigital Printing
Sheet SizePrints larger sheet sizes- 29” to 40”Prints smaller sheet sizes- 19” to 29”
Speed of PrintingThe speed of printing is slowerThe speed of printing is quicker
ProcessMetal plates are used to apply ink to the surfaceElectrostatic rollers are used to apply ink to the paper
Color ControlIt provides more color control while printingIt provides less color control while printing
QualityIt provides higher printing qualityIt provides a lower quality printing

What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is a typical printing process that involves transferring an inked design from a plate to a rubber sheet and subsequently to the printed page.

The offset approach utilizes a flat (planographic) pattern carrier when employed in conjunction with the lithographic process.

Ink rollers apply ink to the image carrier’s image portions, whereas water rollers apply a water-based coating to the non-image parts.

The current “web” technique feeds a big reel of paper in sections, generally for several meters, through a massive press machine, which further prints constantly as the material is fed through.

Offset printing is classified into two types: wet offset and waterless offset. Waterless offset lithography uses a distinct process in which the non-image portions of a plate are shielded by an ink-repellent silicon layer.

Simultaneously, offset printing has typically produced the finest quality attainable on the biggest range of papers and gives the greatest degree of color control.

Furthermore, offset printing is the most cost-effective option when generating a big number of reproductions from a few originals.

Offset printing tends to produce sharper and cleaner images and categories than some other printing processes since the rubber grip conforms to the sharpness of the printed page; quick and simple printing plate production; and extended printing plate longevity than traditional litho presses due to the lack of tight interface between the plates and the printing surface.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is a way of printing straight from a digital file to a variety of surfaces. Small-run projects from digital design and other sources available are often produced using massive formats and/or high-volume lasers or inkjet cartridges.

Digital printing is more expensive per page than conventional offset printing processes, however, this expense is generally compensated by reducing the cost of all the technical stages necessary to create printing plates.

It also enables on-demand printing, quick turnaround times, and even picture change (variable data) for every imprint.

Due to various manpower reductions and electronic presses’ ever-increasing capabilities, digital printing is on its way to matching or surpassing offset printing technology’s capacity to generate massive print runs of several thousand sheets at a cheap cost.

There are several advantages to using digital printing over older techniques.

Some notable applications include extremely cheap domestic and office publishing is only possible due to digital mechanisms that eliminate the need for plates; data system print files are being used for bulk customization of hard copies.

Digital printing is being used for personalized printing, such as kids’ literature personalized with children’s names, photo albums (such as wedding photo books), and any other books.

Digital printing is the most efficient method for producing short runs, especially when there are a lot of originals.

Main Differences Between Offset Printing and Digital Printing

  1. Offset printing produces bigger sheet sizes ranging from 29″ to 40″, whilst digital printing produces smaller sheet sizes ranging from 19″ to 29″.
  2. Offset printing is slower in comparison to digital printing, which is faster.
  3. In offset printing, metal plates are used to apply ink to the surface, meanwhile in digital printing, electrostatic rollers are used to apply ink to the paper.
  4. Offset printing allows for greater color control during printing, whereas digital printing allows for less color control while printing.
  5. Offset printing produces higher-quality prints, whereas digital printing produces lower-quality prints.
Difference Between Offset Printing and Digital Printing


Offset printing has been around for over a generation, and for many years it was the greatest way to print almost anything promotional: magazines, comics, booklets, advertising, cards, brochures, and more.

The offset process can be performed on a printing press with wet ink and printing plates. Since there is additional preparation time and the finished version must settle before completion, this form of printing takes a little longer to manufacture.

Offset printing is often seen to be of greater quality; nevertheless, digital printing has made gains as well.

Digital printing was once referred to as ‘copying,’ but that word has now become obsolete. Rather than replicating a hard copy original, the great bulk of digital printing nowadays is output straight from computer files.

At the moment, the effectiveness of digital printing is comparable with that of offset printing. Despite the fact that digital printing works very well with stocks nowadays, there are still a few newspapers and activities that require offset printing.

Furthermore, there are specific stocks and demands where digital printing outperforms, if not outperforms, offset printing.


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