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When to choose offset vs. digital printing

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

Clients are often confused when we refer to offset or digital printing and do not understand the key differences that makes one digital printing a much faster but far more expensive option than offset printing so we thought we would break it down.






















What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is the process by which images are transferred from thin metal sheets called plates to a rubber blanket and finally to paper. Due to the initial set up costs of offset printing such as the plates and preparing an offset machine for printing, this process is best suited for high volume jobs.


What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is a much simpler process in which images are printed directly to paper from the computer. Think of our digital printers as much bigger, industrialized versions of your office desktop printer that produces prints of a much higher quality. Digital printing is best suited for short run jobs and jobs that are needed urgently.


When to choose Offset vs. Digital?

The toners used in our Xerox digital printing machines are extremely expensive. However, the biggest advantage of digital printing is the simplicity and speed of simply hitting print from a computer to immediately start producing your flyers, brochures, catalogs etc. This allows us to produce last minute jobs in as little as a few minutes. This convenience however, comes at a very hefty cost as digitally printed jobs can be as much as four times more expensive to produce. This only becomes worth the cost when something as sensitive as programs are needed for use at an event the very same day that they are ordered. Digital printing is also appropriate when a small quantity or printing is needed since the costs of producing plates and setting up our offset machines outweighs the costs of toners used on the digital machines. For instance, producing one hundred business cards digitally will cost less than just the costs of the plates used for offset printing. Offset printing becomes the less expensive and better option for jobs at a certain volume where in the initial set up costs are far less than the cost of toners. For instance, producing ten thousand flyers on our offset platform will cost significantly less than printing them digitally. When we receive quotation requests at Mona Graphic Printers, we analyze the job based on the delivery window and volume to decide the best method of printing for our clients.


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