Differences between Offset and Digital Printing in Sacramento

What is the difference between offset and digital printing services in Sacramento? What would you recommend the local print shops near me? The answer is simple, and it depends on your needs. Currently, the quality of digital printing is similar to offset, so opting for one system or another depends on what we want to achieve.

Next, we will briefly explain how to offset and digital printing works in Sacramento print shops. We will let you know the advantages and flaws of choosing local printing shops in a simple way.

What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is a complicated printing system that derives from lithography in which the plate is partially dampened with water that repels ink. It uses liquid ink, metallic plates and complex machinery of gears and rollers for the transmission of the ink to the paper. Offset printing was invented by the American printer Ira Rubel around 1900 when he worked with a lithographic machine and observed that if instead of printing directly he printed on rubber, the printing was sharper.

There are different types of offset printing machines, depending on the size of paper that is capable of going through them. The larger the format of the machine, everything itself increases proportionally.

How to do Offset Printing

Offset printing machines are divided into “printing bodies”, each printing body is capable of printing only one of the CMYK colors. All printing bodies are equal to each other, depending on the ink we put on it will print from one color or different. The plate is placed rolled up on the cylinder holder. First, the wet rollers apply water with additive, in the areas where there is no drawing. Small drops of water remain in microscopic pores that the plate has; the rest is closed by laser heat and stays dry. Next, the ink rollers apply the ink. As the ink is greasy, the areas where there are drops of water; repel it. After this, we have the inked plate with the image we want to transfer.

To create a perfect impression, we can transfer directly to the paper, but that will cause wear of the iron and an imperfect impression. What we do is use a rubber roller that we press on the plate, so that the ink that was in the plate remains in the roller. This rubber roller is the one that we push against the paper to transfer the ink and serves as a shock absorber and controls the pressure.

Color inks are used to print, the famous CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. All design information, images, color backgrounds, etc. It breaks down into percentages of those colors. With that information we will engrave the aluminum plates, using a laser, what we want to print is drawn on the plate, we will need iron for each ink.

The printing order of the inks is as follows: first, the black, then the cyan, then the magenta and finally the yellow, which is the most transparent and acts as a protector.

In addition to the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black colors, we can print special Pantone colors and apply varnishes or lacquers. Each extra color or offset varnish needs an additional printing body.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Offset Printing

Among the main advantages of offset printing we can mention:

  • You can print large runs at a low cost.
  • For large runs, it is faster than digital.
  • It provides excellent photographic quality.
  • You can use all kinds of papers: coated, textured, with textures.
  • Supports the use of special inks, Pantones, gold, silver, and varnishes.
  • Paper sizes are larger than in digital printing.


Some of the Disadvantages of Offset Printing are:

  • It is complicated and expensive.
  • Inks can cause repainting if they are not allowed to dry sufficiently.
  • It takes time.
  • There may be color instabilities during the run.
  • Printed copies cannot be customized.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is the type of printing where the data or image passes directly to the printing machine, without using plates or intermediate processes. There are two technologies for digital printing, inkjet (special liquid ink other than offset) and toner (particles with pigment). These machines use electric charges to deposit both toner and inkjet on paper. They do not need metal plates, as they have photoreceptor imaging units. They are less heavy machines, more fragile but cheaper (except some high-end ones that could closely resemble offset machinery). They print directly from the computer to the machine, so there is a considerable cost reduction.

Nowadays there are different digital printing technologies, each adapted to your specific needs, in color printing the latest HP Indigo digital printing machines that stand out.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Printing

Among the main advantages of digital printing are:

  • It is instantaneous and economical.
  • Very short runs and urgent prints can be printed.
  • The system accepts a wide range of special supports: PVC, vinyl, magnet, etc.
  • You can use variable data and customize each sheet.
  • It can be operated on the spot.
  • It provides excellent photographic quality.
  • Guarantees color stability.

Among the Disadvantages we can mention:

  • The cost of printing is fixed, so that large runs are not cheaper.
  • The sheet size is smaller than in the offset.
  • Limited use of papers.

Nowadays it is quite common to find in the market these two types of technology for the commercial printing of brochures, catalogs, magazines, agendas, books, etc. It can even be a bit confusing to know what digital printing really is and in what It differs from offset printing, and how one can help us and not the other.

Offset and Digital Printers in Sacramento: Which one do I choose?

  1. A Number of Copies:

If you need a few copies to print; it is appropriate to do it in digital printing format. By a few copies, we mean if it is a book or catalog. For example, from 4 copies up to 300 or 500 copies or it is a flyer, poster, brochure, leaflet, postcard, etc.: between 100 and 2,000 copies, etc.

If you choose from 500 catalogs or 2,000 brochures, it is usually more appropriate to use offset printing since it turns out to be much cheaper and a bulk can be produced in less time. It may sound complicated, but it is elementary. You can look for numerous printing companies in Sacramento.

  1. Work Urgency

Digital printing is super-fast and accessible to all. The ink comes out dry and handy. With offset printing process, it can take several days. It is because of the printing progression where we have to generate the plates, print, then let the ink dry, and bind. If you need to get 5,000 catalogs of 200 pages done within 24 hours, it is impossible. However, some printers at local printing shops can make 50 or 100 copies in digital.

  1. Print Size

In offset machines, you can print sheets of 70 * 100 cm. Instead, the sheet size in digital is 33 * 48 cm. If you have to print a poster or if it is a magazine, you can simply resort to offset printing technique even if they are few copies.

  1. Print Media

The range of papers for offset printing is extensive. It can be of coated and uncoated papers, cardstocks, plasterboards, embossing, etc. In digital printing, most offset papers can be printed, but not all. Also, it can be printed on PVC, on magnets and synthetic papers. You can also use white ink, etc.

  1. Custom Printing with Variable Data

Numbered forms, with the name of the customer on the cover, with different types of cover or interiors, postcards with the printed address; anything you can think of can be done with digital printing with variable data.

Offset or Digital Printing: What type of Printing is best for my Product?

MM Printing services in Sacramento offer both technologies. We have clients that print in digital and clients that print in offset, as well as clients that print using both techniques in combination.

What is the Advantage of Offset Printing?

One of the advantages is achieving the quality and ability to reproduce thousands and thousands of copies quickly and reducing the price to more copies.

And, of Digital Printing?

The much cheaper initial start-up cost, obtaining a much better price for low quantity runs (ideal for flyers, for example). And, we must add in that digital printing opens our minds to new possibilities in communication, such as personalization, segmentation, printing on very diverse and strange media (ideal for business cards), the use of inks special fluorescent color, metallic, embossed inks, etc.


As a customer, you should not worry about the differences between digital printing and offset printing. With MM Printing services in Sacramento, you’ll be equally satisfied with both the quality and the resolution of the job.

We help you choose between offset and Digital Printing

Workshops that only have a printing technology will always tell you that theirs is the best. In MM Printing company in Sacramento, we have both the technologies for you to choose the one that works for you, valuing what your needs are in terms, materials, and also what is more economical for you.

  • Meet our offset printing services.
  • Meet our digital printing services.
  • Calculate offset or digital printing budget.

About MyitSolutions

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