With over 112 billion dollars of printing done every year in the United States, the question of offset printing vs digital printing is still debated today. With offset printing producing a low maintenance form of sharp, clean images and type for brochures, books, newspapers, and magazines, it was the most popular way to print commercially in the 1950s. However, the rise of digital printing solutions has made printing easier for desktop publishing in a world dominated by computers. Depending on what is being printed, one form may be more appropriate than the other.
Offset printing is still relevant in society because 51 percent of Americans say they still enjoy reading. This type of printing is quick and easy, produces high quality images, and is low cost. Even though offset printing on paper has been around since 1904, it is still used for making brochures and other types of print that are still popularly used today. For personalized or computer printing, however, digital printing solutions are more common.
Digital printing, with its short turnaround time, ability to modify an image, and capability for on demand printing, is actually thought by many to surpass offset printing technology in years to come. While offset printing is usually done with a press and plates, digital printing is done with laser or inkjet printers. It is more expensive to perform than offset printing, but the cost is said to be counterbalanced by the low maintenance fees, fewer technical steps, and unneeded production of printing plates that offset printing requires. Digital printing service can perform any job from small desktop publishing to advertising using a large format and volume of inkjet or laser printers. Even though the quality may not always be up to par with offset printing, the technology and convenience of digital printing is continually on the rise.
The battle of digital printing vs offset printing has been ongoing ever since the introduction of digital printing solutions. Both are used for specific purposes and are done differently. While both are used mainly for different reasons for the time being, the technology of digital printing is thought to eventually utilize and possibly surpass that of offset printing. See this reference for more.