Digital and offset printing are the two most common commercial printing technologies in use today, making one of the most common questions, “Which one do I use for my project?”. We’ve outlined below the need-to-know information that will help you determine which process is best for your project.


The process: Digital printing applies the toner colors or liquid inks (typically CMYK) in a single pass.


Smaller quantities

  • A print quantity of under 1000 units is typically well suited for a digital press.

Faster turnaround

  • Little set-up required.
  • Cost effective

  • Prints lower quantities at much less cost.
  • Variable data

  • Can print variable text or images where each sheet off the press is unique in some specific way.
  • Disadvantages

    Larger colour variability

  • Pantone colours are created using CMYK & other colours.
  • Limited choice of media

  • Can accomodate a smaller variety of paper stocks.
  • Offset

    The process: Offset printing uses separate plates for each ink colour and sequentially transfers each colour onto the page.


    Larger quantities

  • A print quantity of over 1000 units is typically well suited for offset printing.
  • Pantone (Spot) colours & varnishes

  • Accurate Pantone colours as plates are filled with Pantone inks or ‘spot colours’
  • Fluorescent & metallic inks.
  • Spot or flood varnishes.
  • Cost effective

  • Prints higher quantities at much less cost.
  • Larger media variety

  • Rough or heavy papers, cloths or specialty papers.
  • Disadvantages

    More time consuming

  • Set-up, maintenance & drying time required.
  • Finishing time

  • Requires drying time.
  • Testimonials

    Our whole company loves you guys, we always talk about how prompt, happy, thoughtful and detail oriented you all are. Thank you so much for everything. I really can’t think of how you could improve. You are magical elves!!!
    eta landscape architecture

    Still unclear on the best choice for your project?

    No problem—give us a call and we would be happy to outline specifically how each process will apply to your project.

    TR Trades Reproduction Ltd.

    1744 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver BC

    Mon to Thurs 7:30am to 9:00pm
    Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm
    Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm
    After hours printing available!