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What is the difference between Digital Printing and Litho Printing?

If you have ever wondered which type of print is best for your marketing material or you keep hearing the words ‘digital or litho’ when talking about print, then you have come to the right place.

Having high quality printed materials, whether it is letterheads or brochures, is crucial if you want your branding to look professional and credible and communicate the right message.

However, we know that it can be hard to determine what type of materials or printing method is right for your budget, your collateral and your campaign objectives.

That is where we can help.

To put it simply, there is no specific printing method that is better than the other.

It comes down to:

  • What you are printing
  • How many you need
  • The level of quality required
  • The material you have chosen
  • How quickly you need the item printing

What is digital printing?

Fundamentally, digital print is a dry powder process that uses a four-colour process reproduction method - it uses electronic files and dots of colour to produce an image using toner or ink. Digital print is essentially a large laser printer, similar to how an office printer works.

How does digital print work?

With advances in technology, the print quality of both digital and litho is nearly the same nowadays, but they both work in different ways. Digital print can offer good coverage and high-quality print as the ink sits on the surface of the paper. This process works well on almost any paper; glossy, silk, uncoated - apart from rough heavily textured materials.

If you are on a tight schedule, digital print has a faster turnaround as it is a very quick process with a simple upload onto a computer. It is also more beneficial for smaller amounts produced quickly.

What is Litho Printing?

Litho printing is the more traditional printing method out of the two which uses a wet ink process and printing plates. The plates have an image burned into them - this is then transferred onto rubber blankets and then onto the printing surface.

Is Litho considered better?

The print quality of litho is the same as digital but it is a better technique if the design requires a large block of solid colour as it comes out smoother. There is also a different finish with litho as the ink soaks into the paper fibres compared to digital print – that’s why it can produce a better-quality finished product when printing on heavily textured materials.

If you need to print a high quantity, we recommend choosing litho as it is likely to be more cost-effective as while the set-up takes longer, it can print more in an hour compared to digital.

Thanks to our in-house print facilities and a network of trusted suppliers, we can help you and your business stand out for all the right reasons with our high-quality print solutions and creative graphic design services.

Our team are here to help with all your printing needs. Give us a call on 01522 300222 or send us an email to discuss your requirements – we’ll be happy to help.

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We'd love to help you with your next print or design project.

If you would like to speak to our team, simply call us on 01522 300222.

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