Offset VS Digital Printing – What to Choose for Your Packaging Business?

4.8/5 - (46 votes)

There is no doubt that digital printing is a widely used technique for printing. It is changing the way printing companies are doing business nowadays. However, that doesn’t mean that companies need to throw their old-fashioned offset printing press out and bring digital printers. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing between offset and digital printing. Here is a look at some basic differences between offset and digital printing to help make your decision.

First of all, let’s have a look at the advantages both of these printing methods offer.

Digital Printing Advantages:

  • It uses both RGB and CMYK
  • Cost-effective for low print volumes
  • Shorter turnaround
  • Easy Customization

Offset Printing Advantages:

  • Uses CMYK and PMS
  • Cheaper for high print volumes
  • Clean, crisp, and attractive color output
  • It can print on any medium, surface, and size

What is the difference and which one to choose?

When it comes to opting for one of these methods, it varies depending on the project you are working on. However, here are a few factors to consider while deciding which one to choose for your next packages printing project.

  • Volume
  • Material
  • Turnaround Time
  • Quality
  • Customization


Printing volume is one of the significant considering factors to decide between offset and digital printing. If you need a smaller number of packaging boxes, digital printing is a great way to go. It produces low-volume printing at a lesser cost compared to offset, for which you need a higher upfront cost. However, for high-volume printing jobs, offset takes an edge over digital printing. Once the plates are developed, which is the major investment, the cost per piece decreases with increasing volume.


The material you are printing is the other major factor in determining which of these methods to choose. Although digital printing is improving with time and catching up to offset printing, materials you can print on are still limited. With offset printing, you can reach out and print on almost every material. If you are working on rigid and paperboard packaging, offset printing is the way to go. It gives you the best quality possible to look luxurious while providing a clearer and more vivid result. However, you can choose among either of these methods for custom packaging, depending on the volume.

Turnaround Time:

If you need a small volume of packages printed quickly, digital printing is a choice to make. It sets up in no time, and you can have a small number of prints done within a few hours. However, if you require a huge volume, go for offset printing. Once plates are set up, a major time-consuming task, you can have many packaging boxes printed quicker than the digital printer.


If you are on the lookout for high-quality prints for your packaging boxes, regardless of the cost and other factors involved, offset printing stands out. The offset process uses Pantone® Matching System to match the exact colors and provides a clearer and premium look to prints.


If personalized prints for your specific customers are what you are looking for, digital printing is the right option. It will take a lot of time, effort, and cost to create unique plates for an offset press. But, at the same time, you can do it with a little effort through digital printing.

Final Thoughts

The most effective way to print your packaging order is to use digital printing for packaging prototypes and offset press for the production process, use offset printing. It is cost-effective and gives high-quality packaging boxes. Buy Product Boxes is an experienced and reliable packaging provider. We can also craft bespoke packaging solutions based on your needs. Give us a call today to learn more about our services. 

Embark on Your Custom Packaging Adventure!

Connect with our sales specialists now and secure a prompt, competitive quote for your packaging needs.