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28/09/2017 Lithographic Printing, Digital Printing

The Differences between Digital and Lithographic Printing

Colour Print lithographic press

At Colour Print, we are able to offer a wide range of print services to cater to any customer. Our comprehensive in-house facilities and extensive collection of finishing equipment mean we can tailor techniques to provide a bespoke print package. In this week’s blog, we offer an overview of two of the main printing methods: digital and lithographic printing. Digital is generally recommended for smaller print runs and lithographic for larger orders, but why is this? Is digital printing the same as the printer you have at home? Read on to find out. 


Offset Lithography Printing (Litho)


This popular printing method involves up to five printing plates, each of which will print a specific colour – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) as standard and our machine has a fifth plate that can be used for certain colours that can’t be achieved by the four-colour process. The required image is burnt onto each plate, which is then loaded onto the printing press. The inked image is transferred from the plate to the paper. Some of the benefits of lithographic printing are:

  • Useful for longer print runs
  • The longer the run, the more competitive a price is likely to be offered
  • Offers high-quality results when printing with metallic or UV colours


Digital Printing


The principles of a commercial digital printer are the same as a modern home printer, but on a much more sophisticated scale. Digital information is taken from the file (e.g. PDF or JPEG) and converted into a type of digital map, allowing the ink to be laid directly onto the paper. Some of the advantages of digital printing are:

  • More suitable for shorter print runs and bespoke orders
  • Setting up a digital print run is quick as no plates need to be engraved
  • Can be more forgiving of low-resolution images


Which method should I choose?


When it comes to choosing the appropriate printing technique, we will be able to advise you, depending on the needs of the print job. As both methods produce prints of equally high standard, the right printing style will be chosen based on suitability, with no compromise on quality.


To find out how we can help you with your printing project, call our office on 01603 488001 or email an outline of what you are looking for to sales@col-print.co.uk.


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