The Difference Between Litho & Digital Printing

The printing industry offers more ways of commercial printing as technology improves.  So, there are a lot more options to choose from when it comes to your marketing material for your business.  Litho and digital printing are the most common types of printing used.

Both printing techniques have pros and cons, but they are very different to one another, so sometimes choosing between these two printing techniques can be difficult.  There is no specific printing technique which is better than the other.  It all depends on what you are printing and how quickly you need it and your budget etc.

Litho printing uses wet ink and printing plates.  Digital printers use ink and others use toner on a press, which is similar to how an office printer would work.

According to Jamie from Leeds Printing Company “Print quality is very important, especially when you are using them for your marketing materials.  If your printing technique requires large blocks of colour, then litho printing would be more suitable for your print job.  Litho printing the ink used will soak into the paper whereas with digital printing the ink sits on the surface of the paper.  So, the image could look a lot different depending on which printing technique you use.”

Both litho printing and digital printing give a high quality print and gives good coverage. There is not much difference between them both when it comes to how they printon silk paper, uncoated paper or glossy paper.

Digital printing has a quick set up time, as once the design is uploaded onto the computer and you press print the printing process will begin.  When it comes to litho printing the set up can take a lot longer as the design needs to be made on printing plates.  However, once this has been done it can print off more prints per hour compared to the digital printing at 18000 for litho printing and 4800 for digital printing per hour.  So, you will need to think about how many you want printed off and whether you want them printed off quickly.

Digital printing does not take any time to set up so there is no initial payment cost.  You only pay for the paper used and each sheet that goes through the digital printing machine.  Litho printing is different as there is a set up process before the printing actually will begin.  This means that there is an upfront charge with litho printing.  You also have to pay for the paper and ink, like with digital printing.  However, once the initial set up is done you can then use the printing plates as much as you want to.  Litho printing is also faster than digital printing while it is actually going through the print process.

Litho printing will actually produce a better quality print job when it is being printed on all materials.  Digital printing does not print well on rough or heavily textured materials and paper.  On regular paper though there is not much difference between the two.