Printing refers to the recreation of designs and logos on various goods, and in our cases, packaging goods like cardboard boxes and cups. There are two main ways of printing, that is, screen printing and offset printing. Ever wanted to know what the difference between these is? Well, here you go!

Aug. 1, 2018

Difference between Screen Printing and Offset Printing

Updated On: Nov. 26, 2019

Offset Printing

Offset printing uses assembly line style of printing. This assembly line integrates multiple printers in a row, which products are cycled through. Each printer is designed to print only one colour at a time in a CMYK format (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). This process uses ink instead of toner, making for a more vibrant, solid colour.

As it is meant for large quantities, Offset Printing usually requires a Minimum Order Quantity specification. However, as it is done by machine, the print is constant, clean and bright across all the pieces.

Screen Printing

 Modern screen printing has been around since the early 1900’s (anciently designed by the Chinese) and has gained popularity over the years as the go-to process for printing on clothing and a variety of materials like plastic, glass, and metals. What sets this process apart from other printing methods is the use of a stencil (screen) to imprint images onto the material. The process works similar to that of a stamp, where ink is transferred from a stencil onto a surface. It is usually done by hand.

When multiple colours are used in a design, layers of stencils are used to allow colours to print separately into your design. Thus, it is hard to print intricate designs using screen printing due to the limiting size of the mesh stencil.

Likewise, the cost of printing will increase if you print multiple designs because of the need to have multiple screens created. Hence, Screen printing works best for very simple designs with few colours.



The role of Offset & Screen Printing in Packaging Industry

In the packaging industry, both screen printing and offset printing are used time to time depending on the requirement.

Screen printing makes sense for smaller quantities. Its cheaper to make the screen printing die and manually print paper boxes, glass jars & bottles, paper pouches.

The print quality isn't very good in screen printing, and you'll notice a few chips around the edges somewhere in the design. The difference is visible if checked carefully. There is a restriction on the number of colours to be used in the design. 

The screen printing can be done over multiple packaging products such as paper box, paper cup, plastic containers, glass bottles and jars.

The minimum order quantity for screen printing starts from 1000 pieces.

The design looks the best with the offset printing. The printing isn't expensive, but it requires the higher order quantity. There are no restriction on the number of colours in the design.

The offset printing is generally used for printing paper products like paper boxes, books, paper bags, etc.