Digital Vs. Offset Printing: Which is Right for Your Business?

Digital Vs. Offset Printing:
Which is right for your business?

In the world of printing, there are two main methods to achieve a finished product: digital and offset.

The following overview of our two printing services will help you determine whether offset or digital printing will be best for your print projects.

the process

Digital Print

Digital printing is a process where an image is directly applied from a digital-based image to a sheet of paper. It uses electrostatic drums which atrracts powdered toner to the sheet.

Offset Print

Offset printing (a.k.a. lithography) requires processing an electric print file onto a metal plate imaged with a laser for each ink color. The plates, substrate, and rubber print “blanket” interact to transfer the ink to the sheet.

The offset

Larger project quantities
sophisticated process
+ lots of fancy jargon
High Quality Results


Digital Print

Digital print is ideal for short runs and minimum quantities – even as few as one unit!

Offset Print



Because of the labor involved in initial setup, offset print is best for large quantity runs.

Data Flexibility

Digital Print

Digital print’s software capabilities can flex print content depending on variable data, like coupon codes and direct mail addresses.

Delzer’s customized, online storefronts also allow businesses to order whenever and wherever for added convenience.

Offset Print

Offset print is static, meaning every piece will be identical. What you see is what you get.

Note: Delzer does offer digitally run, variable data on top of pre-printed offset pieces. A best of both worlds.

Data, Driven.

Order whenever and wherever for added convenience with a commercial print online storefront tailored to your brand.

Learn More


Digital Print

Small Runs = $

Long Runs = $$$

Less setup costs makes digital printing less expensive for small runs, or quantities. On the flip side, the fixed per-copy-costs makes longer runs more expensive on digital equipment.

Offset Print

Small Runs = $$$

Long Runs = $

An upfront setup process makes offset printing more expensive if the batch of print has a low quantity. The more you print, however, the less your per-copy costs.

Toner vs. Ink

Digital Print

Powdered cyan, magenta, yellow and black toner is used in combination together to create color in digital printing equipment.

Offset Print

Rich, thick ink is used on offset equipment for robust 8-color, pantone (PMS) and even metallic coverage. Coating capabilities, like spot and aqueous varnishes, are also possible with this print option.

Turnaround speed

Digital Print

Digital printing is fast! It doesn’t require any setup or drying time. 

Offset Print

Offset printing is also fast…eventually. But first, it requires some setup work and usually, customer proofing. Once everything looks good, it kicks it into high gear.

Materials + size

Digital Print

Digital print accommodates sheet sizes in 13″x19″ or smaller.

Digital material capabilities include paper and synthetic substrates.

Offset Print

Offset print accommodates larger sheet sizes in up to 40″x28.”

Offset material capabilities include paper and plastics of various thickness.

Looking for More?

Delzer’s wide-format department offers a variety of different print size and material capabilities.

View Wide Format


Digital Print

Digital print provides a perfect proof representation of the final piece. The proof and final job are run on the same device.

Offset Print

Offset print proofs are run on a different device and may vary from the actual run because of the chemical reactions that might occur on press.


Digital Print

  • Lower setup costs for short runs and minimum quantities (as little as 1 unit)
  • Prints exactly how many you need, when you need it
  • Software capabilities for print-on-demand online storefront ordering
  • Variable data capabilities (addressing direct mail pieces, coding coupons, etc.)
  • Wide format and white ink capabilities
  • Quick turnaround time for same day completion
  • Prints on various paper finishes and plastics of multiple thicknesses
  • Accurate proof samples of the printed piece, showing the exact process as the intended run

Offset Print

  • Cost effective to run large quantities (the more you print, the less per unit cost)
  • Allows for larger sheet size
  • Special effect printing capabilities utilizing varnishes and coatings
  • Prints special Pantone colors and metallic inks
  • Provides high quality printing with strong detail and color fidelity
  • Print on various paper finishes and plastics of multiple thicknesses
  • H-UV ink dries fast, which allows us to handle the finishing aspects of the job quickly (cutting, folding, saddle stitching, die cutting – whatever the job requires)

Which method is right for you?

Bottom line: If you’re looking for quick turnaround, smaller and frequent print jobs, or have constantly changing content, opting for digital print may be best for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to print large-volume static jobs or need specific brand color or quality representation, opting for offset print may be best your best option.

Whether you choose digital or offset, your business needs will be met with a high-quality printed product done right through Delzer.

Request a quote