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Making the Right Choice: Digital vs Offset Printing

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Printing has come a long way in the last few decades, with technology advancing at an incredible pace – but have you ever wondered about the differences between the traditional Offset method and the newer Digital printing?

This post will discuss the differences between the two printing techniques and outline their advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also provide a list of the factors you should consider when selecting the best process for your undertaking.

Digital Printing is Changing Fashion!

Digital printing (DTG) is the process of directly transferring digital images onto various media substrates. In contrast, to offset printing, no printing plate is required for digital printing. Digital files, such as PDFs and desktop publishing files, can be sent directly to the digital printing press to print on paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock, and other substrates.

According to an article by the Federation of European Screen Printers Associations (FESPA), despite the global COVID-19 crisis and the economic decline, the global digital textile printing market will grow at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2021 to 2027, reaching 7.7 billion square metres by 2027.

Suggested Read: T Shirt Printing DTG Vs Screen Printing

Why Choose Digital Printing?

  • There are numerous reasons to choose digital printing, but the following are the most important ones for the textile industry:
  • Print on demand; print as many copies as necessary.
  • Low-priced startup
  • Requires less management space.
  • High printing accuracy and precise printing
  • Monetary savings on utilities
  • Consumption of less water
  • Reduced resource requirements enable quicker production cycles.

What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is based on the fundamental principle of lithography and requires numerous phases, including film, tinkle, spacers, etc. It has objectively superior print quality. (although digital printing has improved so much that only a professional can assess the difference). Offset printing costs significantly more than digital printing for large quantities.

The Advantages of Offset Printing

  • Better colour fidelity refers to the accuracy and harmony of the colours in a design. Because offset printing can mix custom colour inks for each task, the colours will be naturally accurate.
  • Effective on nearly all types of materials.
  • Reliable, superior image quality. Offset printing provides crisp, clear fonts and images without streaks or blotches.
  • For large-volume tasks, you get more for your money. It is expensive to initiate an offset task.

Negative Aspects of Offset Printing

  • The high expense for low-volume work
  • Longer schedule because plates must be fabricated.
  • Worse outcomes in the event of an error. If you miss a typo on a plate and ruin a production, it is easier to correct, but the process must be repeated.

Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing

Digital printing is distinct from analogue printing techniques, such as offset printing, in that digital printing, devices do not require printing plates. Instead of transferring an image using metal plates, digital printing devices print the image directly onto the media substrate.

Digital production print technology is rapidly advancing, and the output quality of digital printing is continuously rising. These developments are producing print quality comparable to offset. Digital printing affords additional benefits, such as:

  • Customized, variable data printing (VDP)
  • print-on-demand
  • inexpensive short runs
  • Rapid turnaround time

Also Read: Screen Printing vs. Dye Sublimation: Which is Better?

Which Is Best For You?

  • Offset printing is printing an image, text, or other content onto a surface, such as fabric or paper. The offset method transfers images from one surface to another using lithographic principles.
  • Digital printing produces an image by electronically transferring pigment onto paper, plastic, fabric, or another material.
  • Offset printers are more expensive to install and require more maintenance than digital printers. In addition, they produce prints of higher quality than digital printers. 
  • Digital printers are faster for brief runs and have lower setup costs than offset printers, but they produce prints of lower quality.

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The final decision regarding the printing procedure depends on the requirements. If quality prints are desired, the finest option is offset printing. They produce prints with exceptional clarity and precision.

However, they are more expensive and require more maintenance to create plates than digital printers. Digital printing is rapid and ideal for brief print runs. It may not be suitable for medium to large print tasks, such as printing books and other documents, because the quality is lower than offset printing.


In conclusion, when choosing between digital and offset printing, there are several factors to consider, including the required quality, volume, materials, and budget. Both printing methods have advantages and disadvantages, and the final decision should be based on the project’s specific needs. Offset printing offers superior quality and accuracy for larger-volume tasks but can be more expensive and time-consuming for low-volume work.

Digital printing, on the other hand, offers faster turnaround times, customizable options, and lower costs for short print runs.

In addition, as technology advances, digital printing is becoming more comparable to offset printing in terms of quality. Ultimately, the best printing method will depend on the specific needs and goals of the project.

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Olivia is a seasoned blogger and printing enthusiast with a flair for fashion. With over three years of experience in fashion, she brings a unique blend of creative insights and industry knowledge to her readers. Passionate about the art of printing and the latest fashion trends. Her engaging writing style and expert guidance make her a go-to source for anyone looking to explore the dynamic world of fashion printing.

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