The pros and cons of digital and offset printing

Written on the 4 September 2012 by Snap Marketing

Choosing between offset printing and digital printing for your smaller print jobs

In the past, offset printing was the clear and natural choice when you needed a print job. But with the increasing popularity of digital printing, the choice has become more confusing. Especially when the majority of people don't know the difference between the two. 

1. Offset printing
Offset printing is the most common high-volume commercial printing technology.
It uses a similar process to producing photos from negatives, whereby the image that appears on the printed matter is first created on a computer before being transferred onto plates and then onto a printed surface, such as paper.


  • Produces sharp, high quality and consistent images for a professional result
  • Cheapest method to produce superior printing in commercial quantities
  • Prints colours are exactly how they should appear


  • The amount of time and costs associated with producing plates and printing press setup
  • Accurate proofing and multiple changes can be very expensive

2. Digital printing
Digital printing works by sending a file from a computer to a digital printer, which immediately prints it onto paper. High quality digital printers use lasers.


  • Very quick and cheap for smaller jobs (short runs) compared to offset printing
  • Allows greater flexibility if you're going to make frequent changes to your printed material
  • Great for customising marketing material


  • Expensive if you're printing high volumes of content
  • Uses the CMYK colour system, so colours may not print how they appear on screen

Therefore, offset printing is great for printing commercial quantities, as well as jobs that require exact colour matches and printing on different materials; whereas digital printing is ideal for low volume jobs that need to be printed quickly and are easy to customise and make changes to.


Author:Snap Marketing
Sign up to our monthly newsletter
Qantas Business Rewards

Earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1 spend at your local Snap Centre. Find out more

Platinum Partners

Platinum Partner

Silver Partners

Silver PartnerSilver Partner