One of the most commonly employed methods of printing, offset printing uses the principle of lithography (oil and water repel each other) to produce high-resolution imagery. Even though the cost of setting up offset print machinery is high, once it is set up, the low cost of production due to efficient usage of ink, quick turn over and good quality images soon make up for the initial cost.
The packaging industry, one of the main end users for the printing world, mainly employs the offset method of printing. Most commercial printing and the publishing sector also uses offset printing. It is true that the market share of digital printing is increasing due to certain benefits such as no cost set up and good imagery. However, it is largely agreed upon that digital printing and offset printing will co-exist in the future, with users employing digital printing for small scale printing jobs and offset printing for large scale jobs. The graph below projects the combined growth of various printing technologies across major world capitals:
So what makes offset printing so popular?
For starters, for a large printing job, it is the most practical and cost effective choice. Secondly, as Pantone ink is used, you know the exact colours that you will get. Further, the image quality is much better than what any other technology offers.
Offset printing also allows versatility in terms of printing on various surfaces such as cloth, plastic, wood, leather, metal etc.
Is offset printing right for you?
Volume- If you have a high volume job, offset printing is definitely the way to go.
Colour quality – If you are looking for exact colours and only need one or two colours for your output, offset printing can be a more economical choice.
Turnaround time – If you are looking for instant results, digital printing is a good option. However, if you have time on your hands, offset printing can deliver great results.
Print surface – Looking to print on an odd surface? Offset printing lets you print on a variety of textures and materials.
Offset printing is a high-volume commercial printing technique. While digital printing may be a good idea for smaller volumes or highly customized products, offset printing is here to stay for high-volume commercial printing.