The growth of digital printing and advances in technology have seen a huge increase in the use of digital over traditional litho and other printing methods. However, it’s not always easy to decide which process will suit your job, so before you decide how best to print your design, there are a few things you should consider.
What’s the difference?
With traditional offset litho printing, the printed image is first burned onto a plate, then transferred (or offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, before finally being printed onto the paper.
Digital printing eliminates many of the mechanical steps used in litho and other conventional methods. The image goes straight from computer, via a pdf of other electronic file, to the page. No plates are required, so there is less waste of ink, chemicals and paper.
Which is more cost effective?
With litho, a significant cost is incurred in the set-up; i.e. the making of plates and running the spare materials necessary to ensure all the inks are in register before the job can actually be run. A proof, to check colours and finish, will also add to the final cost. While these costs are offset by the lower price-per-copy on larger print runs where several thousand copies are required, they must be taken into account and factored in to the overall price of your job.
Digital printing reproduces the effect of full colour printing without the need of set-up time and costs, so there is no minimum print run or initial cost incurred before the job goes to print. This also means that it’s easy to create customized digitally printed materials with different addresses, names or sequential numbers.
Is there a difference in quality?
If you’re matching to Pantone® colours, litho printing uses the actual Pantone® ink, while digital printing simulates the colour using a four colour matching process. That’s why Digitalprinting.co.uk uses top end printing presses which have the best colour matching systems to match special ink colours.
Traditionally, litho printing offers a wide range of finishes on differing and unusual surfaces. However, advances in recent years have seen digital printing capabilities increase significantly on a variety of surfaces. A quick look at our website will show the huge range of papers, finishes and weights available to make your print job really stand out.
The set-up time, finish and drying time involved in litho means it can take several days to complete and deliver your finished job. With digital printing, the turnaround can be extremely quick. If required, your job can even be delivered the day after artwork is supplied.
Digital printing offers accurate proofs, as you see an actual sample of the printed piece. Litho proofs can be expensive as they involve making plates and setting up the press to create a proof before printing the final job.
Your choice of print will depend on a number of factors. We’re proud to have supplied print to a wide range of customers over 20 years in the industry. If you’re unsure which method will work best for you, visit digitalprinting.co.uk or simply contact our expert print team today.