Is it slightly difficult to see the difference between offset and digital prints? Let us advise you.
Offset print is the most widespread printing technique for high-quality prints on various paper media. It is convenient for bigger print material batches – it requires the preparation of printing plates and a specific time and material to start and set the press.
However, the advantage of offset lies in its high print quality, which is not affected by any large print volumes or formats.
Offset print allows the printing of tiny details on even lower-quality paper thanks to a rubber roll, which is able to adhere even to not completely smooth surfaces.
Offset is an indirect printing technique, since a print form is used first to print on a rubber-coated roll, and this roll then prints on paper. Therefore, the ink is transferred twice, and the artwork is not inverted on the print form. The offset principle lies in the mutual repulsion of water and ink – the printing spots on the printing plate accept ink, and the non-printing ones accept water.
Four printing plates of transparent inks are necessary to print a full-colour image: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The simultaneous use of these transparent inks than creates the final reproduced image.
So-called direct inks are used for special colour shades. Every direct colour must have its own printing plate.
Digital print allows direct printing from print data without any need to prepare printing plates. That is why it is usually used for smaller batch prints. Digital print may be used for single prints and personified prints as well.
Small-format digital print often reaches offset print quality. Large-format prints usually feature lower quality. This is also derived from the fact that large-format print is designed for greater viewing distances.
Print data for big format digital prints usually do not have to be of as high quality as offset prints.
Digital presses differ through their applied ink application technology, ink properties, and printed material type. Therefore, digital print may be used for a wide variety of polygraphic products: business cards, leaflets and posters, promotional cardboards, and multi-metre banners, based on the specific press’s capabilities. Special inks and printed materials allow the external use of printed items.
Digital print uses the simultaneous application of transparent and supplemental CMYK inks directly from ink cartridges. However, they cannot be used for spot colour printing, except for white, which is available in some digital printers.