Digital or Litho Printing: Which Should you Choose?
A few years back, offset printing was the clear and natural choice when you needed to get a print job done. But with the growing reputation of digital printing, the choice has become more puzzling. This is particularly so when the majority of people don’t know the differences between the two.
Offset printing is a high-volume commercial printing technology. It uses a similar methods to producing photos from negatives, whereby the image that appears on the printed material is first created on a computer before being relocated onto plates and then onto a printed surface, such as paper.
- Produces sharp, high quality and dependable images for a professional result.
- Given the speed with which prints can be made, lithography (specifically offset lithography) is the cheapest way to produce large-scale commercial print runs.
- Prints colours are precisely how they should appear. This is done by using pantone inks.
- You can also print metallic on offset printers which you cannot do on digital ones.
- The amount of time and costs linked with producing plates and printing press setup.
- Precise proofing and multiple changes can be very costly.
- While the quality of prints produced through lithography are generally high, they cannot compare with prints produced some other types of printing as lithographic plates degrade over time when not properly maintained and this can lead to deteriorating image quality.
Digital printing works by sending a file from a computer to a digital printer, which instantly prints it onto paper. High quality digital printers use lasers.
- Very speedy and economical for smaller jobs compared to offset printing, running your job on a digital press can be faster, depending on how many jobs the printer has in the queue before yours.
- Allows greater flexibility if you’re going to make many changes to your printed material.
- Great for modifying marketing material, where you can use this to take a great effect is mailshots and personalised campaigns.
- Expensive if you’re printing larger volumes of content.
- Uses the CMYK colour system, so colours may not print how they give the impression on screen digital printing is a four-color printing process. Four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are printed in tiny dots that when visually mixed together, to create various colours. (Cannot match spot colours accurately)
- Limited finishing choices foil stamping, metallic inks, and embossing services are usually not offered by digital printing houses. Some digital printers also do not offer die-cutting or special folding services.
Consequently, offset printing is great for printing commercial sizes, as well as jobs that entail exact colour matches and printing on dissimilar materials; however digital printing is idyllic for low volume jobs that need to be printed quickly and are easy to modify and make alterations to.
Are you unsure whether to go for litho or digital printing for your next order? Why not contact us to discuss your requirements and sign-up to our newsletter using the box on the sidebar for our latest printing news and special offers.