The Differences between Digital and Lithograph printing

Lithograph Printing

Lithograph (Litho) printing (otherwise known as Offset printing) operates on the principal that oil and water do not mix. Plates are created of the image which then carries an oil base ink, and the non-printing areas attract a water-based film, which keep this non-printing area ink-free. The inked image is transferred or offset from the plate to a rubber blanket and then transferred to the printing paper.

Litho printing can be quite costly as you need to pay for the plates and the setting up of the machine for print. However for higher volume printing, the price per page is reduced. In addition Litho printing produces high quality print and it is very fast and efficient. However it does require a higher drying time, which needs to be factored into deadlines.

Digital Printing

Digital printing takes electronic files, straight from a PC, USB stick or disk, and converts electronic dots into 4 colours, before reproducing the image using ink and toner. Unlike Lithograph printing, this process of printing doesn’t require plates to be produced.

The advantages of Digital printing over Lithograph printing include:

  • More cost-effective print runs (particularly suitable for lesser volumes)
  • Our digital printers can also do finishing – so less production time required Particularly for direct mail, digital printing enables personalisation