Litho printing is considered the traditional method of printing and it holds the largest share of the commercial printing market. However digital printing is becoming more widely used, with faster machines producing high quality work.
So which method is the best? This depends on a number of factors:
Quality of print between digital and litho is a strongly debated point. It is true that older digital machines could not match the high quality of litho printing, but todays digital presses do come very close and it can be argued that some digital equipment, such as poster printers with 12 colours, are superior to litho. For the vast majority of people this debate is irrelevant – the quality produced by both methods will be suitable for most commercial print work. However for high end, high quality work such as brochure printing, litho may still be the best option.
The number of copies ordered is the biggest factor in determining which printing method if best. Litho printing has high set-up costs as plates need to be made and the machine set-up, but once running it has a very low cost per impression. Digital printing on the other hand has very low set-up costs, there are no plates and almost no wasted sheets of paper, however the cost per impression is relatively high.
What all this means is that digital is a more cost effective production method than litho for shorter runs and litho is much more cost effective for longer runs. For example 100 A5 flyers will be cheaper printed digital and 50,000 A5 flyers would be cheaper printed litho.
Digital printing most often is restricted to producing full colour work, whereas litho presses can be set-up to print in spot (pantone) colours.
It can be said that digital printing provides a quicker turnaround because of its quicker set-up. In reality turnaround has more to do with the overall efficiency of the print company and the amount of work they already have in production. An efficient litho printer could delivery work much quicker than an inefficient digital printer.
Knowing which method of printing to use to produce your next print job can be difficult. Luckily the advantages of each production method are usually reflected in the prices offered. It pays to shop around and it will soon become clear which method is best for you. Eazy Print offer litho, digital and large format printing all in one place, we can advise which would best suit your specific job.
Written by Joanne Serellis