Have you shopped around for online printing services only to find that your same job submitted to two shops came back with different quotes? Price alone should not be your deciding factor, as you should be seeking value, so which one do you choose?
There are a lot of factors you could consider, such as turnaround time, shipping costs, and customer reviews. However, the technology may be the difference especially if you have a small order—the type of printing the company will use for your order could be the decision maker.
There are two basic types of printing methods used in the industry today—offset printing and digital printing. Although the differences may be negligible to the untrained eye, understanding them will help you better choose a service to match your needs.
Generally, digital printing is the more cost effective of the two printing methods. It is the one we are most familiar with today. Your images get upload and then transferred onto your choice of medium using either industrial laser or inkjet printers. Smaller volume jobs are made more affordable because the setup costs are much less compared to that of traditional offset printing. As a result, turnaround times are also shorter and modification to the design can be made and quickly incorporated into the printed product.
On the other hand, offset printing generally produces higher quality products with sharper lines and cleaner images. This method transfers designs onto something like a rubber stamp before the final medium. For example, a poster would get passed through the printer and “stamped” multiple times, each rubber sheet adding the appropriate amount of a different coloured ink until the correct shade is created.
As technology improves, it will likely be more difficult for us to spot the difference between these two printing methods, especially without a side-by-side comparison and a magnifying glass. It’s already pretty tough for most people now. Until then, remember to consider more than just cost when choosing your online printing services. Make sure you get a product that meets your needs, is a great value, and utilizes a printing method that gives you the right blend of quality, speed, and affordability.