Offset printing is also called lithography.
This technology involves the transfer of images (text and art) from one material to another using printing plates. Offset is the highest quality printing that is low in cost but wide in scope. For example, you can use offset printing to create advertisements, brochures, or packaging on a high-quality sheet-fed machine.
The table below compares offset and digital printing.
When to prefer digital and when offset?
|Quantity||750 or more|
|Colours||Pantone or CMYK|
|Time to print||A few days up to a week|
|Cost||Affordable unit price when printing large runs|
|Quality||Best quality, allows for microprinting|
|Variable data||Only numbering added in post-processing|
|Post-processing||Needs to dry before post-processing|
|Special inks||Yes, it's possible to use metallic, neon and PMS colours|
|Proofing||Accurate colour proofing can be expensive|
|Choice of stock||Very wide choice of papers, including art papers|
|Quantity||1 through 750|
|Time to print||Usually within 24 hours|
|Cost||Affordable unit price when printing small runs|
|Variable data||Yes, every individual print can be completely unique|
|Post-processing||Post-processing can be peformed immediately|
|Special inks||No, only CMYK (four colour) printing can be done|
|Proofing||Affordable colour proofing that matches the end product exactly|
|Choice of stock||Wide choice of papers, not including all art papers|