You have several kinds of printing formats to choose from for your next printing project. Different types of printing give different results, and some print formats may be more suitable for your project than others. 

Below we’ll detail exactly what the most popular print formats involve, as well as the pros and cons of each type. Each of these print formats is available at A Team Printing—consider A Team Printing for your next print job when you need uncompromising copying, graphic design, and printing services in Perth

Offset printing 

Offset printing is one of the most popular methods of mass-production printing. Offset printing involves taking a digital file of the desired image and breaking it down into four colours—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). These separate images are then laser-etched onto metal plates. 

The thin metal plates are put onto cylindrical rollers where the non-image areas of the plates are coated with water, and then a vegetable oil-based ink coats the image areas of the plates. These images are then offset onto another cylinder which is wrapped with a rubber blanket. Adding this step ensures a clearer and sharper final image. 

One of the four colours mentioned earlier is printed by one printing unit before the sheet of paper is transferred to the next unit to be printed with the next colour. It’s possible to modify these four base colours prior to printing to achieve a close colour match with the desired image. Offset printing is commonly used to print newspapers, catalogues, business cards, brochures, magazines, stationery, flyers, and books.  

Learn more about how offset printing works here. 

The pros of offset printing: 

  • Consistency: Offset printing results in prints that are very consistent. You shouldn’t be able to notice any differences from one print to the next. This is ideal for large print runs for businesses that want each product to be identical.  
  • Quality: Offset printing produces superb printing results. 
  • Cost-effective: Particularly for large print runs, offset printing can result in significant savings. If you’re looking to print more than 500 copies, offset printing is a very viable choice. 
  • Choice in size: Offset printing can accommodate very large prints, whereas with digital printing, the sizing is usually more limited and you may not be able to print to your desired size. 
  • Fast for large runs: Once the pre-printing process detailed above has been completed, offset printing is very fast—most offset printers can print between 10,000 to 15,000 sheets per hour! 
  • Choice in paper: Offset printing is versatile—you can use a wide variety of paper types in offset printing because the rollers and rubber that are used are flexible and so they can print effectively on varying substrates. 
  • Long-term usability: The offset printing process is very gentle on the metal plates that are used to print—this means you can use them again and again. 

The cons of offset printing: 

  • Slow turnover for small print runs: Offset printing requires having the printing plates made and setting up the machinery, which all takes time. For small print runs this is not very efficient, and on-demand printing is less feasible. 
  • More costly for small runs: Again, because offset printing requires having plates made, the initial cost of this print format means it is not cost-efficient for small runs. 
  • Edits and proofing are costly/time-consuming: Making changes to the image after the printing plates have already been made takes time and will incur additional costs. 

Digital Printing 

Digital printing involves printing digital-based images directly onto media. Unlike offset printing, there’s no need for a printing plate. Instead, the digital files are sent directly to the digital printing press and are used to print onto paper, photo paper, cardstock, canvas, fabric, synthetic materials, and other substrates. 

Digital print technology is a fast-evolving industry, and the quality attained by digital printing is continuously improving. Today, digital printing can deliver print quality that mimics offset printing—although the very best results typically still come from offset printing. Digital printing is commonly used to print posters, menus, newsletters, labels, business cards, and presentation folders

The pros of digital printing: 

  • Fast and efficient for smaller runs: With digital printing, there is no need to laser-etch plates or prepare the machinery like with offset printing. This means printing can have a faster turnaround and allows businesses to print on demand. If you’re planning a run of fewer than 500 copies, digital printing is probably the best option. 
  • Cost-effective for small runs: Digital printing can be cost-effective because costs are cut by not needing plates. 
  • Greater flexibility: Unlike offset printing, designs can be changed with less of an impact since no plates have had to be made in the process. 

The cons of digital printing: 

  • Unable to colour match as effectively: Digital printing still cannot entirely achieve the colour matching of traditional offset printers because it uses four set colours (CMYK) and does not use the colour matching system offered by offset printing. This means your print may not exactly match your design or image. 
  • Cracks can appear: With digital printing, the colours are not fully absorbed into the paper—so when the paper is folded, cracks can appear. 
  • Fewer material options: Digital printing is still not compatible with all types of paper, ink, and finishing options. 
  • More costly for higher quantity print runs: To print in higher quality, digital printing is generally more expensive than offset printing. 
  • Slower and more expensive for large runs: Because the actual printing process of digital printing is slower than offset printing, it is usually more expensive than offset printing for large print runs. 

Iridesse printing 

Iridesse printing is an advanced form of digital printing made possible by Xerox’s ground-breaking printing technology in the Iridesse printer. Launched in 2017, it is the first digital printer to be able to print up to six colours in a single pass. 

It prints much faster than other digital printers and it can print media up to very large sizes. Because you can incorporate specialist inks, you’re able to print using metallic gradients and create prints that stand a mile out from the crowd. 

Iridesse printing is used to create Christmas and greetings cards, calendars, wedding invitations, business cards, reports, newsletters, brochures, certificates, posters, and more. Whatever your print with this format, the Xerox Iridesse will breathe new life into your designs. 

Are you considering hiring a graphic designer to create the perfect design for your project? Find out what the benefits are of hiring a graphic designer. 

The pros of Iridesse printing: 

  • Fast and efficient: The Xerox Iridesse can print 120 pages a minute—a quick turnaround is guaranteed. 
  • Customisation: The ability to customise designs is unmatched—it can print gold, silver, white, clear, fluorescent pink, and metallic hues. You can choose two of these colours in addition to the base CMYK colours. You can customise a colour or create a new colour. 
  • Incredible print quality: The colour vibrancy of the Iridesse is the best on the market, and the overall print quality is outstanding. Even when printing fine text and thin lines, the printing is clear and crisp. 
  • Large size: Unlike conventional digital printing, you can print large with the Iridesse—up to 330 x 1200 mm. 

The cons of Iridesse printing: 

  • Can be more costly: When compared to ordinary digital printing, Iridesse printing is generally more expensive because the equipment is costly for printing firms. 
  • Not as fast for large runs: Although the Iridesse prints very fast for a digital printer, it still can’t match the speed of offset printing, so for very large runs it will be slower. 

Final words 

Different forms of printing have their pros and cons. The printing format that is best suited to you primarily depends on the scale of your print job and your desired outcomes. For very large print runs, it’s generally best to choose offset printing, as this will be the most efficient method to use and will also be the most cost-effective. 

If you’re printing a smaller run, digital printing is definitely the way to go. For smaller runs, digital printing is the fastest and cheapest printing format. You’re also given more flexibility to change your design and the process is much more simple than offset printing. 

If the quality of printing is your top priority, and you wish to achieve an end result that will blow your audience away, Iridesse printing is 100% the format of printing you’ll want to use. Not only are you able to customise your designs unlike any other format of printing, but you can also incorporate unique colours such as gold and silver. Iridesse printing is unmatched in its quality, colour vibrancy, and print uniqueness.  

Whatever your needs and desired outcomes are, you need a commercial printing company you can trust to deliver those results. A Team Printing Perth has been in business since 1985. We are a family run business that prides itself on delivering the best possible services to our community.  

Get in touch with A Team Printing today.