Litho or digital printing – what’s the difference?

May 27, 2017 · Print This Article

Business owners who have had to organise printed stationery or marketing materials have probably heard about the two main techniques that printing companies use:

  1. Digital, and
  2. Litho


Minuteman Press, Sunninghill, offers both digital and litho printing options. But, what’s it all about, and how do you know which technique is best for you?

  1. Digital printing

Digital printing from a professional company uses the same technique to print as many home printers – that is, artwork is transferred via digital files to a printer and is printed using dots of ink or toner. The quality of professional digital printers is, however, higher than that of home printers as the machines are bigger and more precise.

Best for:

  • Small print runs up to 2 000
  • Very quick turnaround time
  • Affordable printing costs
  • Personalising with variable data (e.g. newsletters individually addressed)
  1. Litho printing

Separate plates are made for each process colour that makes up the artwork (generally there are 4 process colours – C, M, Y and K). The plate is covered with ink, which is transferred to a rubber blanket and then onto the paper. Because there are no dots involved, the quality is generally far superior to digital printing.

Best for:

  • Large print runs
  • Pantone inks (very specific and accurate colours)
  • Specialised finishes (spot laminating, foiling, etc.)
  • Large areas of flat colour
  • Heavy or textured papers


If you are looking for a printing company in Sunninghill to handle all your printing requirements, from black-and-white copies to full-colour printing, we have the solution for you. Please get in touch with Minuteman Press Sunninghill to get a printing quote.