[Printing separately] Digital printing vs offset printing vs spot color printing Printing color differences

What are the different printing effects of the three printing methods commonly used in Hong Kong? An article in 3 minutes will take you to know the difference of printing and become a printing expert!

Digital printing vs offset printing vs spot color printing – how should you choose?

What are the different printing effects of the three printing methods commonly used in Hong Kong? An article in 3 minutes will take you to know the difference of printing and become a printing expert!

Digital Printing (fastest, can be done in small quantities)

Digital PrintingIt is the digitization of printing technology. It generally refers to part or all of the digitization of the whole process. For example: laser phototypesetting, remote plate transfer, digital proofing, computer-to-plate making, digital workflow, printing factory ERP, etc. all belong to the category of digital printing. Digital printing is a new printing method that directly prints computer files on paper, which is different from the cumbersome process of traditional printing. Its characteristics: one-piece printing, no plate making, immediate waiting, real-time error correction, variable printing, and on-demand printing. Digital printing is a comprehensive technology developed on the basis of printing technology. It uses electronic text as a carrier and transmits it to digital printing equipment through the network to achieve direct printing. The biggest feature of printing production process is that there is no printing plate and information is variable, covering various technical fields such as printing, electronics, computer, network, communication and so on.

Digital Printing vs Offset Printing vs Spot Color Printing

  1. Digital printing is full digital information transmission, eliminating the need for film and printing plates in the machine version.
  2. The information of digital prints is 100% variable.
  3. Digital printing is the process of directly converting digital information into printed matter using a digital printing system. The digital manuscript can be a digital file processed by a digital prepress system, or it can be sourced from the Internet or digital media.
  4. Digital printing can realize print output anytime, anywhere, remotely, without time and space constraints.
  5. The value of digital printing comes from the service provided to the customer, rather than the inherent cost of the manufacturer. According to the imaging mechanism, digital printing is divided into electrostatic imaging, inkjet imaging, electrocoagulation imaging, thermal transfer imaging, magnetic recording imaging and so on. On the market, digital printing machines with electrostatic imaging and inkjet imaging are the mainstream.


Since digital printing does not require the complicated processes of traditional offset printing, it only needs to send the finished product from the computer to the printing machine. Therefore, traditional printing cannot be achieved in urgent printing, variable printing, and on-demand printing. Therefore, the digital printing industry really caters to the ever-changing demand for rapid printing of commercial prints.


offset printing (cheaper, suitable for most needs)

offset printingIt is a type of lithographic printing. Simply speaking, offset printing is a printing method that transfers the graphics and text on the printing plate to the substrate by means of rubber (blanket). It is also the existence of the blanket. This printing method is named. The blanket plays an irreplaceable role in printing, such as: it can make up for the unevenness of the substrate surface, make the ink transfer fully, and it can reduce the water on the printing plate (see the role of water in printing later). ) to the substrate, etc. The above is just a general concept. The offset printing that we usually say now may have a narrower scope, that is, the lithographic printing method with three cylinders (printing plate, blanket, and embossing). In the south of our country, this printing method is called For offset printing.


Offset printing adopts fully automatic assembly line operation, computer automatic control, printing tower drum rolling printing, and conveyor belt automatically transmits discs. In order to avoid mixing different kinds of discs, add BASLER R2 to the input end to automatically detect. Offset printing is mainly based on a white background and different ratios of the four main basic colors (black, blue, red, yellow) to deploy a variety of printing colors. The shades of various colors are determined by the length of the printing time, the printing pressure, and the printing temperature. The longer the printing time, the darker the color; the greater the printing pressure, the darker the color; and the higher the printing temperature, the darker the color.


  1. Compared with screen printing, offset printing has the characteristics of high efficiency, high quality and low cost.
  2. efficient. Offset printing adopts automatic flow operation, automatic color matching by machine, automatic computer monitoring, high speed, and can print 15,000 pieces per hour.
  3. High quality. Computer fine-tuning, accurate color matching, high position accuracy.
  4. Color effect is good. Printing varnish, glossy color, smooth surface, clear printing effect, not easy to fade.
  5. low cost. Offset printing adopts roller printing, the printing layer is thin, and the oil is used less.


spot color printing (most expensive, strictest color)

1. Meaning

Four-color printing refers to a printing process that generally refers to the use of yellow, magenta, and cyan primary color inks and black ink to reproduce various colors of color manuscripts; while spot color printing refers to the use of yellow, magenta, and cyan. A printing process in which other color inks other than black ink and four-color ink are used to reproduce the original color. In packaging printing, spot color printing is often used to print large-area background colors.


2. Scope of process application

spot color printing: The covers of packaged products or books are often composed of uniform color blocks of different colors or regular gradient color blocks and text. These color blocks and text can be divided into colors and then overprinted with four primary color inks, or they can be mixed with spot colors. Ink, and then print only a certain spot color ink on the same color block. In the case of comprehensively considering improving the printing quality and saving the number of overprints, sometimes it is necessary to use spot color printing.

Four-color printing: photos taken by color photography that reflect the colorful changes in nature, colorful artworks by painters or other pictures containing many different colors, for technical requirements or economic benefits Considering that the color separation must be scanned by an electronic color separation machine or a color desktop system, and then copied by a four-color printing process.


3. Visual Effects

The ink prepared by spot color printing is obtained according to the principle of subtractive color mixing. When the thickness of the ink layer on the plate surface is large, the change of the thickness of the ink layer will be less sensitive to color changes, so it is easier to obtain a uniform and thick printing effect.


4. Application angle

From the perspective of product quality: when printing a large area of light-colored uniform color blocks, it is usually used to add a medium light agent to the original ink to prepare the spot color ink, and then perform solid printing, so that the ink layer is thicker, and it is easier to obtain uniform and thick colors. Effect. If you use a four-color printing process, you must use low-count flat screen dots. However, the flat screen dots with low percentages are easily caused by tiny sand grains or slightly poor air extraction during printing, resulting in smaller dots in individual parts, resulting in uneven ink color: it is easy to water too much for the layout during printing. The accumulation of paper powder on the printing plate and the blanket, and the low smoothness of the paper cause the poor ink transfer of the small dots. This results in lightening of the ink color and uneven ink color.


5. The Economic Perspective

It mainly depends on whether the process of using spot color printing can save the number of overprints. Because reducing the number of overprints can save both printing costs and pre-press production costs.

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