Many people ask about the differences between lithographic printing and digital printing. Our typical response is that digital printing is more suitable for shorter print runs, while lithographic printing is more a long run option. Digital also tends to take less time, as it is to a large extent completed with a single process whereas lithographic printing requires a number of intermediate steps and processes. Another key factor to consider is the page count or is it a single item product such as an invitation.
Digital offers much flexibility.
Digital print offers short runs at low cost, so you may want 10 books today and next week another 10 books with some small changes in the copy. This is a strength of digital print that lithographic printing does not offer. With digital we can also include variable data allowing customisation and individualisation for each piece in a common format.
What is the best process for the standard of the product?
While lithographic printing can offer superior quality, with higher resolutions and a permanent image, digital presses have advanced to offer comparable qualities with some reservations. Lithographic printing can offer quality a broader range of textured substrates, however in in recent generations of digital presses, this is no longer a barrier.
In general qualities can be comparable and the deciding factor is run length. On restriction with digital is that a full range of Pantone colours and spot colours may cause matching issues on a digital press.
When it comes to printing either digital or lithographic, we at Turners Printing are always available to offer the best advice and help.
Author: Michael Holmes