The Differences between Offset and Digital Printing

Digital Printing VS Offset Printing, Which One Is Better?

digital printing VS offset printing

Since Johannes Gutenberg’s creation of the printing press in 1440, printing methods have come a long way. Offset printing and digital printing are the most popular printing processes for commercial projects nowadays. The offset printing press was the only and probably the best source of quality printing during the twentieth century and much of the early twenty-first century. However, technical advancements aimed to create printing techniques that were less expensive than offset printing, had a shorter turnaround time, and were less harmful to the environment.

New technology, inks, and printing surfaces were available as more people desired to print their own products. So, what exactly is offset printing, and how does it differ from contemporary technologies such as digital and UV printing?

What is Offset Printing?

Offset lithography, known as offset printing, was first developed in 1875 and is still frequently used today. Each project or project piece is printed on etched metal plates in an offset printing press.

A “positive” picture including text or original artwork is generated on an aluminum plate, which is then covered with ink before being transferred or “offset” onto a rubber blanket cylinder in offset printing. The image is then copied onto a press sheet. Offset printers can print on almost any type of material using oil-based inks as long as the surface is flat.

Each blanket cylinder applies a single layer of colored ink to a predefined printing surface during the printing process (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). As each color-specific cylinder passes over the substrate, a print is generated on the surface of the page.

Advantages of Offset Printing

Disadvantages of Offset Printing

What is Digital Printing?

Advantages of Digital Printing

Disadvantages of Digital Printing

In 1989, digital printing was invented, utilizing newly built computers. Digital printing, unlike offset printing, does not require metal plates or rubber blankets. Instead, a digital image is printed directly onto various materials or card. At first, the quality was significantly inferior to that of offset printing.

Digital printing uses three colors, red, green, and blue, rather than the four-color method (RGB). The color prints produced are not as accurate as those produced by offset printing. In addition, the scale of digital printing output remained generally limited. Digital printing, on the other hand, ushered in a revolution!

UV Printing---A Bridge on Offset and Digital Printing

Advantages of Digital UV Printing

Although the benefits of digital printing were obvious, innovators were attempting to close the quality gap between offset and digital printing. UV ink revolutionized the printing industry. These are specially formulated inks that dry quickly when exposed to UV light instead of oxygen.

UV inks dry far faster than traditional inks and generate far more vibrant colors, resulting in far crisper and clearer printing results. UV inks are also based on the four-color CMYK system, which allows for much better color matching. UV printing can print on a variety of materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic, vinyl, acrylic, metal, and more.

UV printing, often known as digital UV printing, is a type of digital printing that uses UV inks. While offset printing has a tiny advantage in image printing quality, digital UV printing has drastically closed the gap, and the technology is still relatively young. Digital UV printing is the best solution for most printing projects because of its affordability, speed, quality, and versatility. Large scale UV printers have now solved the size mismatch that existed between offset and digital printing.


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