For years, it was assumed that digital printing was simply a lower quality process than offset printing. Customers were often disappointed when they learned their small color print jobs called for digital printing because they wanted the better quality of offset. However, in today’s digital printing world, this method is becoming more widely used around the country.
Offset printing involves burning plates and a much more involved set up process, which pushes the upfront set up expense, which is often the best choice for high volume printing runs. Offset printing has a better quality finished work, which is a definite advantage. Digital printing is a less expensive alternative because it does not require the elaborate initial steps to set up, making it a great choice for low volume printing.
Although offset lithography still has a slightly better quality, digital printing technology has improved a great deal in recent years and the novice will at times find it difficult to distinguish between a digital and offset printed product. For short run color brochures or trial run postcard marketing test runs digital printing is defiantly the way to go.
Digital services also allow printers to work with on-demand services for those customers who need frequent, quick turnaround time. Even for a large run job that has to be printed on an offset press a digital print can act as an inexpensive proof, while offset proofs are prohibitively expensive. Digital proofs allow the designer to see the actual results of how the piece will look and are inexpensive enough to order a new one if changes are made to the design.
Many are concerned with the types of paper that can be used with the digital process. In the past, paper types were limited, especially with photocopying technology. Even in 1999, digital printing required uncoated white paper in a narrow range of sizes. However, recent advancements have made it possible to use a much wider range of stock, coated or uncoated and up to 14 point in thickness.
Digital presses can even use green and recycled paper to be more environmentally friendly. This isn’t just a great advancement for the environment; customers have found their clients are looking for green companies that are dedicated to lessening their carbon footprints. This gives them a choice to support sustainable forest management.