Printing - Digital Vs. Litho

What Is The Best For Your Print Job – Litho or Digital?

Litho uses wet ink and printing plates, whilst digital uses toner on a press similar to a giant office printer. Digital is most commonly used in short run printing and litho tends to be used for longer run printing. Litho and digital printing is commonly used by commercial businesses.

Offset Lithography Printing

With offset lithography printing, the inked image is transferred from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then the image is transferred again on the paper. Most printing is done through a standard four colour printing process.

The artwork is separated onto four different printing plates and each plate prints a specific single colour. The four colours used during the printing process includes cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Together these four colours combine together to create a fill colour print. Additional printing plates can be added to the process, to print spot colours and special inks can also be added for not standard colours.

Litho – The Low Down

When it comes to litho a significant amount of cost is attributed to getting the process ready, from making the plates to spare materials. Due to the process this is why it is most commonly used for long run print projects.

Although most commonly used with a 4 or less colour base, this type of printing isn’t limited to it. Spot or special types of ink can be added to enhance the printed item.

Litho is also a great way to print large areas of solid colour. The colour comes out smoother and no pixels can be seen.

Some of the latest addition to litho include computer to plate making (CTP) this has resulted in a quicker plate making process. Modern computer controlled presses can speed up the process of colour control and getting plates into accurate register.

Benefits of Litho

Digital Printing

Digital printing is a four colour process reproduction method that uses electronic files and dots of colour to produce an image using toner or ink. Unlike litho, no printing plates are required during the process, which means there is less waste of chemicals and paper.

Digital – The Low Down

Although digital offer quick and quality printing it doesn’t come with a protective coating over the top, which means the printed item isn’t protected from marking or light damage.

Digital printing shows cracking when folded. However, the items are primarily designed as documentation or for mass amount of a specific product.

Litho offers one of the fastest printing process, and meaning it can quickly produce short run printing with ease.

Benefits of Digital