Offset Printing vs Digital Printing – What’s the Difference?

Offset Printing vs Digital Printing – What’s the Difference?

Offset printing is the traditional form of printing, and digital printing is the new age direct printing. The differences between these two forms of printing don’t stop there. There is a clear distinction between offset printing and digital printing, and you can choose them according to your needs.

What is Offset Printing?

The traditional offset printing technology uses aluminium plates to transfer a layer of the image onto a rubber “blanket”. This rolling blanket then rolls the image on to a sheet or substrate. Since the transfer isn’t direct, it is called offset printing. The initial time to set up the offset rollers may be more, but offset printing provides the most efficient and higher quality images for mass-production of print materials. The quality of colour reproduction, and clean, professional-looking finishes, usage of multiple types of material to print, make offset printing a popular choice even to this day.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is the quickest way to get print materials over for a short run or when you have multiple originals to copy. It uses a digital press to do the process of printing. There are no plates used. However, options such as toners (laser printers) are used. In a larger printer, liquid ink is more prominently used. One of the advantages of digital printing is the variables that print must include. For example, if you have different names and addresses for each print material, then digital printing is the way to go.

One way for choosing between offset printing or digital printing is to see the quantities you need. If your requirement is less than 500 and has multiple originals, then digital printing presses are better to have than offset printing.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of offset Printing?


  • If you are looking for excellent quality images, then offset is the choice.
  • Colour fidelity is much better
  • Large quantities can be printed cost-effectively
  • The more you print, the cheaper the price per piece
  • A wide range of papers and custom finishes can be printed
  • Offset printers in Melbourne achieve the highest possible printing quality


  • The cost of low-volume print jobs is high
  • Longer turnaround time as plates need to be created.
  • Error on plate design like typo can cost heavily.

What are the Advantages and Drawbacks of Digital Printing?


  • Quick with faster turnaround time
  • Print quality is identical, fewer variations
  • Ideal for low-volume jobs
  • Setup costs are lower for short runs
  • Good for printing on a need basis.
  • Lower minimum quantities (as low as 1, 20 or 50 pieces)
  • Black and white printing is inexpensive.
  • Improved technology has made digital quality acceptable for more uses.


  • Print materials choices are fewer than in offset printing
  • Colour fidelity is lower.
  • Digital presses are not advisable for large-volume jobs
  • As compared with offset printing, the quality, sharpness and crispness are lower.

McLaren Digital press is proud to offer specialised printing services in both digital printings and offset printing categories. We are a one-stop solution for all your printing needs and have in-house the latest digital presses and offset printing machines to ensure the top-quality print to achieve the highest customer satisfaction levels. Connect with us over a call on (03) 8769 4000 to discuss your requirements and get a FREE quote.

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