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Weekly Blog – Digital vs Lithographic Printing Which One Is for You – Our Guide

by | Apr 15, 2020 | 0 comments

When it comes to printing, you more than likely have two options to go about this: digital printing and lithographic (litho) printing. As you can see, these two are entirely different from one another, and one will always be better than the other depending on your printing needs. With that in mind, you might be wondering which one you should opt for.

In this article, we’ll share with you more about the two printing options so that you can determine which one is best for you.

What is litho printing?

If you’ve never seen litho printing done before or have no idea what it is, think of a rolling pin in your kitchen, except that it is metal and has a colour on it. Then, you roll over a surface to transfer an “image” onto it.

With litho printing, you’ll work with at least four metal plates containing the colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). It is the combination of these colours that create the final product. However, extra plates might be added depending on your printing needs. Fewer plates might also be used if you have two or fewer colours on what you’re trying to print.


What are the main advantage and disadvantage of litho printing?

The main disadvantage of litho printing is that it takes much time to set up due to creating plates and making sure that they all line-up. However, this is where the advantage follows. Once everything is ready, printing is typically done quickly. The main benefit, then, is that if you’re printing multiple materials, such as a thousand posters, it is going to save you lots of money compared to digital printing. Also, the final output is of higher quality, as plates are used to avoid any form of pixelation.

Do note that because litho printing uses wet ink, you will need to wait a while, such as a few days, to make sure all the ink has dried on whatever it is printed on.

What is digital printing?

Unlike litho printing, digital printing utilises a digital file and not plates. This means that it prints out an image with dots of colour, like the pixels on your screen, with the help of either ink or toner.

What is the main advantage and disadvantage of digital printing?

Digital printing takes little to no time to set up at all. The user simply opens the file, sets the software to print, and wait for the machine to get going. Because of this, if you’re doing short print runs, digital printing is much more cost-effective when compared to its counterpart.

The biggest downside to digital printing is that it won’t be able to print out large prints in a quality that’s comparable to litho printing. As you might remember, it prints colour with dots, which, when large enough, can make the final output look pixelated.


If you’re printing large images or you’re going to have a long printing run, litho printing might be for you. On the other hand, if you’re printing smaller images or only in small amounts, then digital printing would be your best option. Either way, don’t forget to do some research beforehand to understand more about which printing method suits you more and which one will help you save the most amount of money while still delivering quality prints.

Once you have figured out which option to go for, get in touch with us for the best affordable printing service in Epping.