What’s the difference between Litho and Digital Printing?

November 25, 2011 · Print This Article

Most professional printing companies offer both litho printing and digital printing. While each printing method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, few printing companies will be able to tell you which one is “better” if they don’t have specific details about your project.

Here are some of the main advantages of litho printing:

  • High quality prints: Besides magazines and catalogues, litho printing can also be used to reproduce art, which will give you an idea of the quality prints that can be produced with this printing method.
  • The cost per unit is cheaper. For bulk volume printing, it is cheaper to use litho printing than digital printing. The cost per unit decreases as the amount of prints increase, which can make it extremely cost-effective for large print runs.
  • Litho printing is extremely quick. In terms of printing speed, litho printing can produce a large number of prints within a relatively short period of time. Setting up the printing machine (and creating the necessary plates that will transfer the image onto paper) is a bit time-consuming, but once the machine has been set up, your print job can be completed quickly.

Digital printing

Here are some of the main advantages of digital printing:

  • Print any image directly from your computer. You don’t have to set up plates to reproduce graphics and images – simply send the printing company the file (or bring it to them on a USB stick) and they will be able to print the images for you.
  • Small print runs are more economical with digital printing. The initial setup of litho printing is too expensive for small print runs. If you only need a few prints (less than 1000), it would probably be more cost effective to choose digital printing.
  • Customised data imports. If you are printing business cards for your employees, digital printing is the ideal solution.  You can easily give the printing company a file with all your employees’ names, titles and telephone numbers and they will be able to customise each business card with the click of a button.

Conclusion

The choice between litho printing and digital printing depends on your individual needs and requirements. If you’re unsure about the benefits of each option, speak to your local printing company and ask them to draw up a cost comparison (and provide you with printed examples) before you make your decision.

Contact Minuteman Press Bellville for Litho printing and all your printing needs

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