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Offset vs Digital Printing


I started my career in the printing business when I was 16 years old in New York city. Everyone starts in the bindery department,collating,stapling,padding and cutting. I was happy to have the job,and wanted to learn as much as I could. After 9 months in bindery,I was promoted to the dark room. I was then taught how to strip negatives and burn metal plates for the press. The entire room was painted black and the only light was from your light table. I felt like a vampire after my shift,and to this day I still wear tinted glasses. After a year and a half,I was finally promoted to pressman. My dream of becoming a craftsman had come true. I printed everything from business cards and announcements,to letterheads and envelopes. When a job came in that required color,I had to do a complete wash up of the press. I had to clean all the rollers,inkwell and blanket which took me a good 45 minutes. It seemed to me that I spent more time cleaning the press then I did actually printing. If a full color job came in we had to run it in two passes on our 2 color press and it was an all day project. How I miss the smell of ink and blanket wash in the morning. Today’s technology has replaced conventional offset printing with an alternative means of getting projects reproduced,Digital Printing! Now you can send your file to a server and request a variety of paper choices that best suits your project. Card stock for business cards and invitations,glossy paper for brochures and sales fliers.The list goes on and on. Digital Printing allows small businesses the convenience of short runs of marketing materials instead of larger runs that you were forced in to on a offset press. Digital Printing is instant printing. Gone are the day’s of drying time and offsetting,ordering 500 or 1000 because it was economical,and paying for negatives and metal plates. There is no smell at all in Digital Printing,and it’s Fast! The quality is superb and typically there are no minimums. Here at River City Digital Graphics  www.rcdigitalgraphics.com  I run 80% of all my projects on a digital machine and my customers love it. I don’t think offset printing will ever be a thing of the past,but digital printing is an excellent alternative. By the way,I still have a small press that I run envelopes on. I guess some habits are hard to break.