Digital Printing & Lithographic! What’s The Difference?

Digital Printing & Lithographic! What’s The Difference?

What Are The Differences Between Lithographic & Digital Printing?

Lithographic Vs Digital Printing

What Are The Differences Between Lithographic & Digital Printing?

Digital Printing is excellent for short runs and eliminates the need to replace the printing plates. Compared to the more traditional methods of printing where the plates would need to be continually replaced. The digital printing process also enables printers to print straight from a digital image such as a PDF file. This reduces time by taking away the need for any mechanical steps to be taken in between, such as creating the printing plates.

On the other hand Lithographic Printing is brilliant for the longer print runs. The Lithographic printing process is based on the process of repelling water and oil. When the plate is exposed to a water and ink mixture, the parts that do not require ink will attract water whilst repelling any of the ink. The parts that do need the ink will attract the ink and repel the water.

What Are The Benefits Of The Lithographic & Digital Printing Processes?

 Digital Printing:

  • Due to the reduced number of mechanical processes required, digital printing offers faster turnaround times.
  • Shorter print runs are cheaper compared to running short print runs on lithographic printing equipment.
  • Easy customisation. The digital printing process enables easy changes to be made to the artwork without slowing down or stopping the printing process. This works especially well for personalised invitations, letters, cards, letterheads etc. For example, cards can be printed with different names and messages without impacting the production of the cards. This is referred to as Variable Data Printing.
  • Less waste, more consistency and there is no need to balance the ink and water levels resulting in less variations to the printing process.

Lithographic Printing:

  • High image quality.
  • Can be used on a range of surfaces such as wood, metal, leather, plastic and paper.
  • Cheaper costs for longer print runs, compared to producing long print runs using digital printing.
  • The quality and cost effectiveness of the process during longer print jobs is unmatched by the digital printing process.
  • Increased quality due to the modern offset presses computer-to-plate systems, compared to older computer-to-film systems.

How Do You Decide What’s Right For You?

  • Digital is the way forward if you’re looking for a fast turnaround for your print.
  • If you’re looking to print on an unusual printing surface, although the digital printing process does have options, the lithographic printing process still provides more flexibility.
  • Shorter runs? The digital printing process would be the best for you.
  • Longer runs? The lithographic printing process would work best for you.
  • If you’re looking to see what your print will look like before it’s printed, digital is the right choice for you. Also if you’re looking for easy customisation, digital would again be the best process for your needs.