Offset Printing vs Digital Printing

Jun 18, 2018Print

Learning about printing can be pretty cool. Not only do you get to understand how your favourite magazines, newspapers, and early movie posters are being printed but you also get to have the knowledge of what printing methods will work best for your own recreational or business ideas.

Businesses would be lost without printing. So, here’s a quick explanation of Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing to keep you on track in the print world.

Offset Printing

Uses aluminum plates that transfer the image to a rubber-like “blanket” that is then rolled onto a sheet of paper. Then, you’re done!

Why is it called “Offset”?

Simply because the ink is not directly printed onto the paper surface. The image is quickly transferred, or “offset” to the surface. This is how thousands of newspapers are printed so fast.

Best uses of Offset: For large quantity printing (i.e. 1,000+) and accurate colour reproduction that is clean, crisp, and professional looking.

4 Colour Offset Printer

Digital Printing

Uses large printers that deposit liquid ink onto the printer paper (think laser printers). The huge benefit of digital printing is that it allows for variable data capability – if you need to efficiently print 50 unique wedding invitations, you can easily get this done.

Why is it called “Digital”?

Well, this process of direct printing links to computer technology. Everything is done digitally. That’s why its so easy to edit data on your print projects!

Best uses of Digital: For lower quantity printing (i.e. 100 flyers) that is fast, detailed, and easy while having the capability to print projects that may need to change names, addresses, codes).

Large Format Digital Printer

Which one is right for you?

So, you’re thinking of printing your next project and aren’t sure which method is right for you? Don’t worry, your printer will help you determine which method is best based on the following:

Offset Printing Advantages

  • Can print large quantities (1,000+)
  • Cost effective – the more you print the cheaper the price
  • Huge variety of paper types to print on
  • Custom inks available (i.e. metallic, Pantone, etc.)
  • High printing quality with detail and accurate colour

Digital Printing Advantages

  • Can print low quantities (1, 50, 100)
  • Very cost effective
  • Quick turnaround time – can print on demand for last minute runs
  • Variable data capability (i.e. modify names, addresses, numbers, etc.)
  • Improved technology has made digital printing very detailed


Though both methods are extremely useful, each provide particular benefits for certain projects. If you have a large printing job where you need over 1,000 prints, Offset Printing is best. You also have the advantage to use special inks and paper types in the process. If you have a smaller printing job where you need less than 100 prints ASAP, Digital Printing would be the best solution. Here, you have the key advantage of altering variable text for your project. Both still offer detailed print quality, it’s just selecting the one that’s best for your project!

For help with your next print run, be sure to call (905) 302-9797 and speak to an expert!

Your Team at Branded Marketing & Promo Inc.