People often ask whether their particular project is going to be printed on an offset press or digital press and quite frankly, the answer can change based on the specifics of that project or the intended end use of the product.
If all the pieces produced will be exactly the same (static art), most likely offset will be the most effective choice. BUT the run length or due date may make digital the preferred choice. Then again, if the paper stock specifications exceed the tolerances of the digital press, offset is the only choice.
With Static jobs, run length (how many pieces you need) plays a factor also. A rough rule of thumb is that at 2000 sheets or more of 18×12, most likely offset print will be more cost effective than digital. But considering that you can net 4000 sheets of 8.5 x 11. Postcards – depending on size – from 8,000 to 12,000, unit cost for digital printing can be very competitive.
Need something today? Digital is the way to go for those jobs that have a quick turn. See how the job specifications can change the decision to print either on an offset or digital press for static files?
However, with the increased use of PURLs and Personalized Variable Data for marketing pieces, a digital press is the only way to go no matter what the run length. As the elements (text and images) in a document layout change depending on rules or formulas in a segmented database, each piece produced is completely unique. An offset printing press is incapable of producing such personalized versions.