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Seven Reasons to Choose Digital Printing

Digital Printing or Offset Printing: That Is the Question

You’ve been handed a printing job with instructions to find the most cost effective printer possible, whether that’s digital printing or offset. Which is best? The answer depends on a number of parameters about your particular printing need. In this article we wanted to give you a quick guide to help you decide which type of printing will be the best choice for your job, balancing out cost, quality and turnaround needs. So we’ve come up with seven reasons for choosing digital over offset printing. We’ll also let you know when offset is your better choice.

1. Digital Printing Has Lower Per Copy Costs for Short Runs

We’ve written blogs about the digital and offset printing processes, and why each technology is better suited to different sorts of jobs. Suffice it to say for this article that digital printing has less setup operations, and costs, than offset printing. Since those offset printing setup costs are charged whether you are running one copy or ten thousand copies, digital is usually the better choice for runs of a few copies to several thousand. There are some exceptions to this rule, and we’ll get to them in a bit. But digital printing for short runs is a good rule of thumb.

2. When a Personal Touch or Customization Is Important, Digital Printing Shines

You can send a direct mail post card addressed to Hey You using offset printing. Or you can send a direct mail post card addressed to Actual Person using digital printing and variable data. In fact, digital allows you to include a personal note to each recipient. That’s because every image that comes out of a digital press can be different from the one before. Offset printing, by contrast, just keeps printing the same old image over and over. So digital printing is perfect technology for both personalization and customization – where every piece has a different element.

3. If Your Printed Pieces Change Frequently, Digital Printing is Your Best Option

Business is about managing change; in fact, sometimes change is the only constant. Fortunately, digital printing is the perfect technology for managing changing printed materials. Products and services change. Staff changes. Addresses change. And if the old information is enshrined in a box of expensive brochures, labels, stationery, or any marketing materials, out goes that box. And down the drain go your dollars. Because digital printing performs well for short run and custom projects, it’s perfect for any of your printed materials that may change frequently. That could be a long list:

  • Marketing materials
  • Business cards & stationery
  • Loyalty cards
  • Brochures, flyers and handouts
  • Postcards
  • Trade show booth materials
  • Prototype materials of all types
  • Posters and banners

With digital printing, instead of a box of unusable materials in the closet, you print just as much as you need when you need it. In fact, At Rhino Digital Printing, we store a lot of customer files and make small changes as needed. So getting your new materials is a simple matter of an email or phone call to us.

4. When You Gotta Have it Yesterday, Go Digital 

Because digital printing requires so little setup, is flexible, and excels at just-in-time projects, it really is your hands down choice when you suddenly realize that you need that all important piece of printing tomorrow, not next week. Files can be transferred online. Proofing is also a digital process; you can okay your job online and then we’re off to the races. It’s a much faster process than offset printing.

5. Exception to the Rule: Digital Printing is Great for Long Run Black and White

Remember when we said above that there were some exceptions to the rules? Here’s one. While digital printing excels at short run, high quality work, it also happens to be a great choice for long run black and white work. Particularly projects that involve collating and bindery work as well, such as:

  • Manuals of all types (Employee, instruction, service, etc.)
  • Booklets
  • Any printed piece that requires binding:
    • Saddle stitch binding
    • Perfect binding
    • Wire-O Binding
    • Coil binding
    • Three ring binding

At Rhino Digital Printing, our high speed, high quality monochrome digital printers can print 120 pages of duplexed (printed on two sides at once) 8 ½ X 11” paper per minute). Jobs are collated and saddle-stitched so your booklet or manual comes off the press as a finished product. All this makes digital B&W printing competitive with offset printing from 5,000 to 100,000 pages.

6. Digital Printing for Standard Papers, Offset for Specialty Papers

Digital presses tend to use mainly standard size, weights and types of papers. So if your job falls into this category, digital printing is a great option. However, if you need papers with special textures, or very heavy or very light sheets of paper, you’ll find that offset printing offers a wider selection. Offset printing also generally offers a wider range of paper sizes and formats.

7. For Some Color Needs, Digital Is Fine: For Others Offset Is Better

Digital presses run high quality, four-color process work. For any job with color photos or graphics, it’s a good choice. On digital presses, all solid and tinted colors will be created with the four process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This process creates approximations of solid colors, such as Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors. Due to “hue error” limitations of the process color inks, some of these approximations are very close, while others vary. So if you are doing a multi-color job using Pantone colors that need to be matched exactly, offset printing using actual Pantone color inks will be the better process.

Need Help with Your Digital Printing Projects? Call Us!

We’re the digital printing experts serving the Portland, Oregon area and the U.S. For more information, check out our website at: https://www.rhinodigital.com. Or better yet, give us a call at: 503-233-2477. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and help you with tips and information on getting your printing projects done in the most economical manner possible.

Rhino Digital