The Difference Between Digital Printing & Offset Printing

Posted: November 18, 2020 by Dana Wohlfarth

At The Homer Group, we offer clients a wide range of print services, including digital and offset printing options. We are often asked: "What is the difference between digital printing and offset printing, and which type of printing would work best for our business?"

The short answer is that there are pros and cons to each service, and depending on the specific project or your business’ needs, you might lean towards one choice or another. Let’s look at digital and offset printing a little bit more in-depth.

Offset printing is the more “traditional” printing option.

This type of printing uses a printing press with plates and wet ink rollers. It can take a little longer to produce an offset job, primarily because the printing plates need to be created, but it yields the highest print quality and offers the most control over color. When looking at offset print options, make sure that your copy is proofread for mistakes; if there’s a mistake on the plate that’s not caught before printing, it could result in a complete do-over of the job! This is because a set of plates is re-used and re-inked for each piece, resulting in identical prints.

Offset printing is the most economical choice when producing larger print jobs, which is commone for projects such as brochures, flyers, and books, as well as jobs that require larger sheets. Most newspapers also use offset printing methods to produce the necessary high volumes of print media.

Digital printing, on the other hand, is very similar to copying.

Your at-home laser printer functions as a professional digital printer - albeit on a smaller scale with a reduced quality. Digital printing directly transfers your image from an electronic file, rather than creating printing plates and utilizing ink rollers. While digital printing is faster to produce than offset printing, offset printing typically offers better quality results, although digital printing technologies have really come a long way and the quality has become very impressive.

Digital printing also has the advantage of producing customized results (for example, you can address your newsletter to an individual on your mailing list) however, it can be more expensive than offset printing. Digital printing, therefore, works best for clients that do not require a high volume of print pieces.

Additionally, digital printing works better on certain types of paper for certain types of jobs. This is because paper often needs to be chemically treated for optimal results. Luckily, we’re here to help guide you through selecting the best paper options for your project.


As you can see, your choice of digital offset printing depends on your business’ needs and the volume of printing you’re looking to get done. Our printing professionals are here with the best advice, quality control, and industry knowledge to help you decide which is best suited for you. For more information about our printing services, or to get started on your business’ next project, request a quote today!

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