Should I go with Digital or Offset for my Postcard Printing?

Valerie
January 11, 2010

When it comes to postcard printing, there are many different options to choose from, many of them coming with different price tags.

You don’t want to sacrifice quality when it comes to a cheaper price, but you don’t want to unnecessarily overspend either. When talking about digital and offset printing, a lot of people don’t know which is right for them or even the difference between the two. Let’s start with that …

Offset printing
Offset printing or lithography involves using an inked image that is transferred onto a plate, then a rubber blanket, and then a printing surface. The plate is sensitized to be ink-receptive in the image areas and water-receptive in the non-image areas. Based on the premise that oil and water do not mix, the next step is possible. After the plate is placed on the printing press, ink is applied to the surface of the plate and stays in the image areas. A small amount of a water solution is applied to and stays in the non-image areas of the plate defining where the ink is positioned.

This printing process is normally more expensive than digital printing because initial production time takes longer and is normally used for runs for quantities of at least 1,000.

Digital printing
Digital printing is created by scanning a light source directly onto a receptive drum. Essentially, it is printing that is directly from a digital file rather than a plate. This printing process produces faster turnaround times, lower production costs, and the ability to personalize documents. It is frequently used for on-demand or short-run color printing.

Deciding between these two processes depends on your quantity and price range. Check to see the requirements for being able to use the offset printing option. For regular distribution of printed promotional items, digital printing is a great cost-effective way to go when going with qualities of less than 1,000.

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