Quality and cost differences between litho and digital printing

August 12, 2013 · Print This Article

When you order prints in Nelspruit, you don’t necessarily care how the prints get printed – you just want a top quality job at a fair price. It is, however, in your best interest to understand a few fundamental differences between the two main printing methods – litho and digital printing:

Litho printing is a popular printing method in which the image is transferred from a plate onto paper (or other materials) by using the principles of lithography. The main advantage of this form of printing is that the prints produced are of extremely high quality.

Litho printing is particularly effective at reproducing big areas of colour and gradients of colour. Litho printing is also very cost effective when printing large batches of prints, i.e. more than one thousands reproductions of the same print.

There are very few disadvantages associated with litho printing. The most notable disadvantage, however, is that litho printing can prove to be a quite expensive for small print runs. This is because the majority of the cost can be attributed to the time-consuming plate creation process that is used to reproduce the graphics and text.

Digital printing

Digital printing is a very convenient way to print. It is the most cost effective printing method for small print runs. Also, digital printing allows clients the option of easily personalising each print. The quality of your prints will also be sharp and professional when digital printing is used.

There are a few disadvantages that should be noted. Digital printers often struggle to print large areas of colour and gradients. Also, many digital prints do not offer protective coatings.


  • Quality: While the quality of digital prints are acceptable, litho printing does produce prints of a much higher quality. If you require large areas of colour or shadings to be printed, you should rather use a litho printer.
  • Large print quantity: Litho printers are a lot more cost effective when it comes to printing more than one thousand prints at a time.
  • Small print quantity: If you only require a few prints, then digital printing would be a better option.

Whether you need digital or litho printing, our printing company in Nelspruit can help. Contact us and outsource your printing needs to Minuteman Press in Nelspruit today!

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