OFFSET PRINTING VS. DIGITAL PRINTING
When it comes to printing, people commonly resort to offset printing and digital printing to get the job done. Although the finished products may look similar, the two methods are vastly different, as each have their own benefits and drawbacks.
To put it in simple terms, offset printing involves a multi-step process where the ink is transferred from an ink-well to a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then finally to the printing surface. You will see offset printing normally used for large scale runs as it tends to provide more accurate distribution of color and a cleaner product. The setup costs and time involve make this process more suitable for longer print runs (higher quantities).
Digital Printing (a.k.a “the printer down the hall”)
The digital printing process utilizes a toner that sits on top of the paper. The paper is slid or pushed across the toner as it slowly develops the image piece by piece. Most household and office printers you see are digital because of the low cost and because there is less of a need to print large-scale quantities.
AA Global utilizes a network of digital-offset presses, deployed across the globe in strategically-placed locations. These presses, made by HP-Indigo, deliver high-quality sheets that are perfect for a wide range of applications, from stationary (letterheads and business cards) to marketing materials (brochures, data-sheets, catalogues and brochures) to training materials (user-guides, presentations, manuals) to banners and other signage and even light packaging. All calibrated to a single color standard and only use HP-certified papers.
One of the big differences between offset and digital printing is the price per unit. The initial start-up costs of offset printing are much higher due to the price of the machine and timely set up (and also waste many sheets of paper in the process) but in the long run, it ends up being more cost effective due to their longevity and ability to print large quantities. As previously mentioned, digital printers are used for smaller scale jobs where you aren't printing as much. Digital printers have lower start-up costs and are suitable for a small number of units and if color is not important (if you are printing less than 500 units, a digital printer or digital-offset press makes more sense. If you are printing more than 500, offset printing might be the better option, depending on the layout and size of the document).
Digital-Offset printing bridges the gap between digital printers and offset presses and allows for longer runs, a wider selection of paper stocks and delivers the quality, consistency, and reliability that one expects of professionally-produced materials.
To the naked eye, the coloring between offset and digital printing may be the same but to professionals and those spending their hard-earned money, it makes a difference. Offset printing uses four ink rollers each with a specific ink color - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (Also known as CMYK). Digital printing also uses CMYK coloring but many add grayscale and sometimes other toners. One of the biggest difference is the ability of offset presses to portray brand colors like Pantone or HKS. Digital printers do not have that capability and will match those colors the best they can. AA Global presses are calibrated to simulate offset printing very closely without the costly setup fees and waste that is commonly associated to that technology. The ink delivery system has improved greatly in the past decades so that today there is virtually no visible difference between the offset and the presses we use, once they have been set to our standards. AA Global’s network of Digital-Offset presses support Pantone inks and also use a system called Hexachrome to expand their CMYK gamut and come very close to specialty colors like Pantone. For short-run printing however, these specials inks are typically cost-prohibitive.
AA Global Printing
Overall, both offset and digital printing are effective in their own ways. One is better for large bulk print and the other is better for individual or small bulk print, with Digital-Offset providing the perfect balance of cost, run-length and quality. Whichever you need, think no further than AA Global Printing. With its worldwide network of offset AND Digital-Offset presses, AA Global can connect you with the most appropriate print supply-chain and have your needs met in no time! For more information, visit our website or contact us at (617) 581-0744