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Offset vs. Digital Printing

What's the Difference Between Offset & Digital Printing?

When deciding between offset or digital printing for your business you should consider two factors: quantity and turnaround time. Ries Graphics uses state of the art digital and offset printing equipment to ensure your job will be completed quickly no matter how large or small. However, offset printing has a longer lead time than digital. Digital printing is best for smaller jobs where turnaround time is of the highest importance. Offset printing offers the lowest price per piece ratio and more paper options, but a longer turnaround time.

Still not sure what’s right for your business? Don’t worry. Keep reading for more information, or contact Ries Graphics now for a free quote and consultation on your commercial printing job.

Offset Printing:

  • Is best for large quantity projects
  • Has the lowest price per piece ratio
  • Provides accurate color and crisp prints
  • Is best for thousands of copies
  • Has a higher set up cost
  • Offers a wide variety of paper options
  • Offers a wide variety of size options
  • Has a longer set up time
  • Has a longer turnaround time

Offset Printer at Ries Graphics

Digital Printing:

  • Is best for small quantity projects
  • Has the higher price per piece ratio
  • Provides less accurate color and clarity
  • Is best for hundreds of copies
  • Has a lower set up cost
  • Offers a limited variety of paper options
  • Offers a limited variety of size options
  • Has a shorter set up time
  • Has a shorter turnaround time


Free Printing Quote

Commercial Offset Printing

Offset Printing Companies Milwaukee

Offset printing services have a lower price per piece ratio than digital printing. If you need to keep costs low and quantity high, you need offset printing services from Ries Graphics. The more your print, the cheaper each print is. Whether you’re printing brochures, flyers, posters, or something else, no other printing service is more economical. While digital printing requires virtually zero set up time, once an offset printer is running it quickly outpaces the competition.

The state of the art 4, 8, and 10 color perfecting presses at Ries Graphics can print double sided sheets faster than straight presses, a lot faster. We're talking 250,000 press sheets in 25 hours fast. Our perfecting presses can print up to five colors on both sides of a sheet in a single pass, or up to eight colors on one side depending on your needs.

Offset printing also offers a wide range of stock options, all without sacrificing speed. Perfecting presses can run sheets up to 29 1/8” x 41 15/16” at a rate of 15,000 sheets per hour. We can print on stock as thick as .024” if your job requires a heavy duty print.

Because offset printing has a long set up time, it is best suited for high volume orders of more than five or ten thousand copies. This means the more copies you need; twenty, thirty, one hundred thousand or even more, the cheaper each print is.  

How Does Offset Printing Work?

Using rolls or sheets of paper, offset printing works by applying ink to an image etched into a press plate. The image is then transferred to a blanket cylinder. The offset printer will feed a sheet of paper between the blanket cylinder and an impression cylinder, here the ink is transferred to the paper. This process is repeated a number of times depending on how many colors are in the image. Ries Graphics has four and eight color presses.

Because an etching needs to be prepared, offset printing has a longer set up time than digital printing. Once the process has begun, offset printing quickly prints high quality images in large numbers. Offset printing is idea for maps, newsletters, calendars, flyers, and more.

Commercial Digital Printing

Digital printing services have a lower turnaround time than offset printing. For lower volume jobs fewer than 1,000 for instance, digital printing is actually the cheaper, faster option. Digital printing is perfect for mailers, flyers, business cards, menus, or anything else in small quantities. While offset printing requires time to set up a press plate, digital printing requires no set up time.Digital Printing Services Milwaukee

Preparing an offset printer is a time consuming process. The only set up time for digital printing is choosing the right paper stock and hitting the print button. Commercial printing jobs using digital printing are ready in 24 hours depending on the size.

Digital printing is a perfect choice if your job requires a high degree of customization. If your job requires 1,500 direct mailers, but each mailer has a unique name, digital printing is the best choice. Offset printing uses a press plate with an invariable image. Digital printing is 100% variable, so each mailer can be unique.

While offset printing has a wide variety of stock options, digital printing is perfect for most, if not all, standard printing applications. Invitations, flyers, business cards, menus, brochures, and more can all be printed quickly using digital printing services from Ries Graphics.

How Does Digital Printing Work?

Digital printing uses toner or ink to transfer an image onto paper. With ink, a jet uses a small heating element to dispense a droplet of ink onto a page. A toner printer uses a laser to imprint an image onto a charged roll. The charged roll then picks up toner in the charged areas. This toner is then transferred to the paper which is fed through a heating element, melting the toner to the paper.

Digital printing is dependent on variable input from computers, meaning the image can be changed at a moment’s notice. There is zero setup time involved in this process, allowing for rapid turnaround times. Digital printing is perfect for mailers, business cards, or any job with variable images.

Why Print with Ries?

Ries Graphics will help you every step of the way and determine the best printing process for your needs.  From the size of your order to color and medium requirements, Ries Graphics will take every aspect into consideration while meeting your budget and deadline.

Custom Printing Company Milwaukee

For printing services in Milwaukee or surrounding areas, contact our print specialists today for a free cost estimate.
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