Offset book printing VS digital printing

Although digital printing and traditional offset printing are common printing methods in book printing industry , I believe many people will be confused about how to choose between them. In this article, I will introduce digital and offset printing in detail from the two parts of interpretation, difference and comparison to tell you: how to choose?

  1. What is digital printing?

Digital printing is a printing technology that replaces the traditional analog information and directly transfers the image information to the printed matter through the network transmission.

  1. What is offset printing?

Offset printing is a common printing technique in which an inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a printing plate to a blanket and then onto the printing surface. When combined with a lithography process based on the repulsive force of oil and water, offset book printing will use a flat (lithographic) image carrier. The ink rollers transfer ink to the image areas of the image carrier, while the water rollers apply the water-based film to the non-image areas.

The comparison between digital printing and offset printing

Let’s briefly explain the difference between digital printing and offset printing from the following six aspects.

(1) Workflow

Digital printing: No printing plate, direct output of electronic files. No need to change the version, effectively saving time.

Offset printing: It is necessary to make printing plates, which belongs to traditional printing. The process is electronic file – plate making – printing – printed matter. Need to change the version, time and material costs are relatively large.

(2) Operation process

Digital printing is easy to operate, but digital printing has higher requirements on the overall quality of operators. A competent digital printing operator must not only need to understand printing, but also need to understand mechanics, electronics and English, so as to eliminate daily failures.

Offset printing is a type of printing.The offset printing operation process is complex, and the operating experience of the operator is relatively high.

(3) Environmental protection perspective

Digital printing no need for film or even printing plate, fountain solution and developing solution in the digital workflow, so the volatilization of the solvent during the transfer of graphics and text is largely avoided, and the degree of harm to the environment is effectively reduced;

Offset printing requires plate making, which will cause great pollution to the environment in the process of plate making and printing. Therefore, digital printing technology is better than offset printing in environmental protection.

(4) Printing quality

The quality of offset printing is better than that of digital printing, and there is still a gap in the quality of most digital printing. Digital printing can meet general quality requirements.

(5) Personalized customization

Digital printing can do personalized content, but offset printing can only print the same content.

(6) Number of prints

Digital printing is suitable for individual, short-run prints,cheap book printing service, such as 200 copies, which are fast and cheap to use digital printing. Offset printing is suitable for a large number of prints, such as printing 5,000 copies, which is definitely the right price for offset printing,

Digital or offset printing: how to choose?

Based on the above comparison of the differences between offset printing and digital printing, we have come to a conclusion on how to choose digital printing and offset printing. To put it simply, if the quantity is small, digital printing should be given priority. For example, several books, several posters, and a small number of business cards are more suitable for digital printing. If it is a large quantity of printing, offset printing is required, such as custom hardcover book printing for more than 500 books , or thousands of posters, dozens of business cards, etc. Digital printing is generally suitable for solving daily printing needs, and offset printing is suitable for large-scale printing needs.

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