Understanding Which Printing Method to Use for Your Copying Needs

When you own a business, there are going to be times when you need to have something printed that cannot be done on the computer printers you have in the office. Professional printers have different techniques of creating the printed materials you require. The most commonly used method is offset printing. However, digital printing is also very popular and has a few advantages over offset printing. Before leaving your original copy of the material you need printed, ask which methods are available. Then chose which you prefer based on what it is you need.

Offset Printing

Offset printing is done by creating a plates of what needs to be printed, applying water and ink to the plates, rolling the plates over a rubber blanket, and then rolling the blanket over the item to be printed.


  • If you need more than 500 to 1,000 copies printed, offset printing is going to be less expensive than digital printing. The ink and paper required for offset printing cost less. Once the cost to create the plates has been absorbed, which is at the 500 to 1,000 copy mark, the price per piece will go down.
  • Offset printing can be done with more print sizes, finishes and paper sizes than digital printing. Offset printers can use materials that are 40 inches wide. While digital printing can be done up to 29 inches wide, most printers can only go as wide as 19 inches.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is accomplished by transferring the information you want printed from a computer to a printer. There is no need for a hard copy of what you need printed, although if you do it by hand originally, it can be scanned into the printer to be copied.


  • When you need the copies quickly, digital printers can print them out immediately and quickly. It only takes a transfer of the file to start the printing process.
  • Without the need to create plates, there is a lower minimum of copies required. You can order 1, 10 or 200 copies as you need them.
  • Since the original is on a computer file, you can easily make changes as needed to the copied. You can set the system up to have a different name and address on each copy if you need it.

When you have the need to use printing companies on a regular basis, knowing which method is going to be most cost effective for the current task is important. However, you must also consider what it is you need printed. If you need something big, will having it done in multiple pieces present a problem? Do you need to make changes to the copy throughout the run? Knowing the answer to these will help you pick the right printing method.