Digital printing, ideal for smaller jobs, takes a digital image and prints it directly to media. It comes under the category of professional printing, though it may be compared to desktop publishing, which relies on laser or inkjet printers.
It may appear to have a higher cost-per-page associated with it, as compared to offset, but that cost is typically negated since printing plates are not part of the process.
These labor savings, plus technology advancements, means digital offset printing may match or exceed offset printing technology, so that it, too, can be a cost-effective choice for print runs of thousands of sheets.
Most commercial digital printing processes require inkjet or laser printers to lay pigment/toner onto substrates like paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, and marble. The likelihood exists that this type of ink/toner will not go through the substrate, so it forms a thin layer on the surface that may require additional steps to ensure adhesion.