Achieving your perfect print: The difference between digital printing and litho printing

Achieving your perfect print: The difference between digital printing and litho printing

Creating the perfect design and working hard to plan, create and finalise marketing material for your business generates such a sense of well deserved achievement. Now that you’ve got that done, you need to decide on the printing process, with the two main options being digital and litho printing.  For many it will be an obvious choice, digital printing is popular, offers you excellent quality and great turnover time. But perhaps the full advantages of digital printing compared to litho printing are not entirely understood.

In today’s blog post, we take a closer look at the difference between digital printing and litho printing.

The difference between digital printing and litho printing

Litho printing is a much longer process than digital printing. The litho printing process works by first having the print image burned onto a plate and it is then transferred (sometimes called offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket and following this, it is then moved to the printing surface. This process relies on the repulsion of oil and water.

Digital printing cuts off many of these steps, whilst it is a more straight forward process, it is still a sophisticated one that’s process incorporates more modern technology. Once the file has been prepared for RIP (A raster image processor RIP is a component used in a printing system which produces a raster image known as a bitmap). This bitmap is then sent to the printing device for output. Many people think digital printing is void of human interaction, and this is inaccurate in the case of Digital, as once the file has finished the RIP process, the file is then copied to press and one of our printer specialists will select the paper script and physically load it onto the machine. A proof is carried out for quality and pending this approval, the job is run, packed and sent to the customer.

The advantages of digital printing compared to Litho printing:

• You’ll receive a shorter turnaround time with digital printing, making your business operate quickly and efficiently when it counts

• There is less waste due to there being less set up sheets required

• Digital printing is generally more cost effective, especially at low to medium quantities

• At Digital we print on HP Indigo digital presses, widely recognised as providing excellent quality digital printing with the look and feel of litho printing.

• Variable Data Printing is a form of customisable digital printing. Using information from a database or external file, text, graphics and images can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press. For example, personalised pieces can be printed with a different name, addresses and for example a unique picture on each piece or any other variable information you desire. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to printing marketing material with desirable customer personalisation.

• Digital printing offers precise proofs as you get the opportunity to see an actual sample of the printed piece. Accurate colour proofing for litho printing can sometimes be more expensive as it involves making plates and preparing the press in order to create a ‘wet’ proof.

Roll fold leaflet - digital printing

If you’re thinking about digital printing and have any questions or queries, our professional team are on hand at all times to provide you with advice and offer you options for all your printing needs. Contact us today for more information; you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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