Almost everyone has needed prints for something at one point, whether it’s a document, flyer, or business card. You may be surprised to learn that there are multiples printing methods that you can choose. Two of the most common methods are offset and digital printing, and below is a discussion about the differences between them.

What Makes Each Process Different?

Offset printing gets its name because the ink is not applied directly to the paper during the printing process. Instead, the printer first applies the ink to aluminum rollers, which then “paint” the design onto the paper. This process takes longer to set up, but those who use it believe the quality is far superior. Digital printing, in contrast, is a quicker form of printing that applies ink or toner directly to paper, based on a digital image of where the ink should be.

How Else Are the Two Unique?

Offset and digital printing aredigital printing different in many ways, not only how they produce prints. The price of each is also different. While rates will vary, 1,500 copies are generally considered the tipping point where cost becomes a factor. If you need fewer prints than that, digital printing is cheaper since the cost to set up offset printing is higher. For larger quantities, offset printing can be the way to go because the return on a large amount will usually justify the cost. Since offset printing is more intricate in the application of ink to paper, the quality is better, mainly in terms of the detail of color gradients and areas of solid hues. 

Why Paper Plays a Role

Printing services always ask customers about the type of paper they intend to use, and for a good reason. Standard weight paper is popular for digital printers. This use is because the focus isn’t on showing extreme detail—making them suitable for applications like document printing. The high-quality canvas paper is more common with offset printers since this paper better reflects the detail of intricate color patterns and subtle differences in gradients. 


When you need digital printing services, choose Miller Quik Print for the job. Located in Onalaska, WI, this professional printing company has been serving customers in areas like La Crosse, Winona, Viroqua, and Alma for over 25 years. This family-owned business offers the quickest printers within a 50-mile radius. To get in touch, call (608) 781-9465 or visit their website for more information about their services.