Litho vs Digital Printing: Which is Right for Your Project?
Updated: May 10
Printing has come a long way since its inception, and the advancement in technology has brought about two significant printing methods – litho, also known as offset, and digital printing. While they may seem similar to the untrained eye, they are different in many ways, and it's important to understand the differences to determine which method is best for your printing needs. In this blog, we will explore the differences between litho and digital printing, and how a London printer can help you make an informed decision.
Litho printing, also known as offset printing, is a traditional printing method that involves creating a printing plate and transferring the ink from the plate onto a rubber blanket. The rubber blanket then transfers the ink onto the paper. The printing plates used in litho printing are usually made of aluminium or polyester and are coated with a photosensitive emulsion. Litho printing is ideal for larger print runs, as it is cost-effective when printing in bulk.
Digital printing, on the other hand, involves printing directly onto the paper using digital technology. This method uses toner or inkjet printing to produce the image or text onto the paper. Digital printing is ideal for short print runs, as it is more cost-effective for smaller quantities.
One of the main differences between litho and digital printing is the quality of the print. Litho printing produces high-quality, sharp and vibrant colours with excellent clarity. This is due to the use of Pantone inks, which are mixed to create precise colours. Digital printing, on the other hand, produces a lower quality print compared to litho printing. The colours produced may not be as vibrant or accurate, and the quality of the print may appear pixelated or blurry.
Another difference is the setup time and cost. Litho printing requires the creation of printing plates, which can be time-consuming and expensive. However, once the plates are created, the setup time for subsequent print runs is minimal. Digital printing, on the other hand, has a much quicker setup time, as there are no printing plates required. This makes it ideal for short print runs or last-minute printing needs.
The cost per print is also a significant difference between the two methods. Litho printing is cost-effective when printing in bulk due to the high setup costs. However, the cost per print decreases as the print run increases. Digital printing is more cost-effective for smaller print runs, as there are no setup costs involved. However, the cost per print may increase with larger print runs.
Another difference is the type of materials that can be printed. Litho printing can print on a wide range of materials, including paper, card, and plastic. Digital printing, on the other hand, is limited to printing on paper and card.
Turnaround time is also an important factor when deciding between litho and digital printing. Litho printing has a longer turnaround time compared to digital printing. This is due to the setup time required for the printing plates. Digital printing, on the other hand, has a quick turnaround time, as the setup time is minimal.
When deciding between litho and digital printing, it's important to consider your printing needs. If you require high-quality prints for a large print run, litho printing may be the better option. If you require a quick turnaround time and cost-effective printing for a small print run, digital printing may be the better option.
As a London printer, Designed4Print Ltd offers both litho and digital printing services. Our team of experts can help you decide which method is best for your printing needs, and provide you with a cost-effective solution. With our state-of-the-art equipment and years of experience, we can ensure that your prints are of the highest quality, and delivered on time.
In conclusion, litho and digital printing are two different methods that offer unique benefits. Litho printing is ideal for longer print runs and the quality is generally better and more consistant. Digital printing significantly improves year on year and most people would be hard pushed to tell the difference between litho and digital. Therefore turnaround times and cost are digital print positive and negative. If you want a print job quickly then digital is the way to go. If it’s a long print run then it will probably be more cost-effective to litho print.