The Difference Between Digital and Offset Printing


You have things you need to print. All you know is that it’s too much to print on your laser inkjet at home.

You’ve heard whispers about digital printing and offset printing, but you don’t know which is which or which one is better for your business printing needs. If this sounds like you, keep reading.


Offset Printing


  • Uses plates, usually aluminum, to transfer the image onto a rubber “blanket,” which rolls the image onto a sheet of paper
  • Called “offset” because the ink is not transferred directly to the paper


  • Print large quantities cost effectively
  • Large assortment of paper stocks with custom finishes available
  • Special custom inks (e.g. metallic or Pantone colours) available
  • Highest possible printing quality, with greater detail and colour accuracy

When To Use It

  • For large quantities (hundreds or thousands)
  • For truest colour fidelity and crisp, clean, professional-looking results
  • For custom papers and specialty inks

Digital Printing


  • Uses toner or liquid ink to transfer the image from the computer straight onto the paper


  • Lower setup costs for short runs
  • Print only what you need, when you need it
  • Lower minimum quantities
  • Black and white printing is inexpensive
  • Variable data capability (auto-insert names, address, codes, numbers, etc.)
  • Constantly improving technology

When To Use It

  • For smaller quantities (100 or less)
  • For personalized printing (individual addresses or information)

Print Three is proud to offer both digital and offset printing, and can help you determine which is the best choice for your business printing needs. Find a Print Three location near you to get started.

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