Digital vs Litho

What are the differences between litho and digital print? Consider your questions answered with this straightforward guide.

Digital Printing

We only use high-end digital technology to deliver exceptional prints. Thanks to the minimal setup costs, digital printing offers terrific value for small print runs.

Our Instant Quote Calculator knows when you need digital or litho based on the print specifications you enter. If you reach a certain quantity of prints, your quote will switch automatically from a digital press to a litho press. We usually use our digital press to fulfil your order if you print hundreds of copies.

Digital presses typically offer a faster turnaround time than litho presses. When you enter your print specifications using our calculator, it will show you which method we will use to print your items.

You can learn more about our print methods for Photo-Quality Books vs Reading Books here.


Litho Printing

Litho printing, a.k.a. offset printing, is a traditional print method. We ink and transfer your image from a metal printing plate to a rubber blanket. And from the rubber to the paper, it results in a sharp, clean print.

We use the Heidelberg Speedmaster for litho prints - an enormous printing press. It can print up to 12,500 sheets of paper per hour and is considerably faster than its digital counterpart for large print projects.

However, a litho press has a more complex setup and takes longer to complete, as we need to prepare the metal plates before print. The process adds to the upfront cost but is a better option if you plan to print thousands or tens of thousands of a particular design.

When you enter your print specifications using our calculator, it will show you which method we will use to print your items. Many customers prefer the quality and finish of products printed on a large scale by a litho press. We recommend adjusting the quantities on our Instant Quote Calculator until the print machine changes from Digital to Litho. You may be pleasantly surprised at the extra value we offer when you increase the number of copies.

NOTE: We'll print on a digital press if you test your print specifications on a single or small quantity order. If you then order a larger quantity of the same item, we'll switch to an litho press so you get the most economical prints efficiently. 

Litho printing process
Litho printing preparation

Colour Variance

While both printers use CMYK inks, digital and litho printing presses produce slightly different colours due to differences in their manufacturing processes.

Because digital printers are ultimately industrial-scale office printers, colours appear vibrant with high contrast levels. Litho printers, on the other hand, apply wet ink to metal plates which are then pressed onto paper to transfer the image.

While litho-printed colour may not always be as vibrant as digitally printed colour - it is more consistent throughout the print run. It provides considerable savings when printing in high volumes. We can print high quantities using a digital press if required, so contact our print experts to arrange this and include your full print specifications.


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