Introduction to Digital Printing
Digital printing means printing using a digitalized original. This is in contrast to traditional offset printing, which sees the image being transferred first from a plate to a rubber blanket and then a second time to the printing surface. Despite the time-tested nature of offset printing methods, digital printing has become more and more popular recently. However, every project is different and deciding on which printing solution is best to use should be determined by the project needs.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of digital printing as compared to offset printing.
Pros of Digital Printing
- For small printing runs, digital printing is typically the more cost-effective solution. The offset printing process is more complicated and thus more expensive to set up.
- To complement its cost-effectiveness compared to offset printing, digital printing also produces faster results, not least because there is no need to wait for the inks to dry.
- Digital printing is easy to set up and also more flexible. Changes can be made quickly often without incurring any (or minimal) additional costs.
- Digital printing is versatile in the sense that digital images can be printed onto a range of unusual printing surfaces, including but not limited to both stone and metal.
Cons of Digital Printing
- Digital printing is less suitable for large print runs. In most cases, offset printing is cheaper than digital printing on a print-for-print basis and will yield higher quality results.
- Compared to offset printing, the color on digital prints is generally not as good. Digital printing has problems with both reproducing the right colors and reproducing them on a consistent basis.
- Digital printing is limited when it comes to its choice of paper, ink, and finish. With offset printing you have a lot more options where that is concerned.
- With Digital printing the ink is not fully absorbed into the paper so the ink is more susceptible to cracking.
In the end, the choice between digital and offset printing comes down to the needs and circumstances of the printer. Offset printing is still better-suited to commercial print runs that need the best results, while digital printing is more appropriate for small printing runs that need to be completed as soon as possible. However, this promises to change as digital printing technologies continue to improve.
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