Choosing between from using digital and lithographic (litho) printing? Well, in this situation, you have to know which would be the right solution for your particular printing project. It all depends on a few factors, including the urgency of the finished result, your specifications, quality, budget, etc. Let us discuss the difference between these two printing methods.

What You Can Get from Digital Printing

Digital printing is more suited to printing jobs that require fast turnaround and where the desired quantity is low to medium. This method does not need printing plates, and the artwork files are output direct to the printer via computer, which means you can save time and money for low-to-medium print quantities. Also, digital printing allows on-demand and economical printing even if you only need one or just a few print-outs. It allows for the possibility the possibility to print variable data.

For instance, if you want to personalize individual print-outs to different end-users, then this method is the right one to choose, as it supplies you with guidelines regarding artwork set-up to use with variable data on request. Moreover, in-house digital printing is also very useful in a way that you can supply one-off printer’s proofs to clients who want to check how things look personally before committing to run a full print.

What You Can Get from Litho Printing

Litho printing comes into its own for medium to long print runs, and its exact tipping point depends on the nature of the job in question, with factors including format, quantity, size, number of pages, paper specification and finishing requirements. When the tipping point favors this printing method, then significant time and cost savings will be had, compared with digital printing. While litho printing might be slower and more expensive than digital, its process would actually overtake that of the letter once running on the press, as the actual machine can print more copies per minute. Also, lithographic printing machines can generally print on larger paper, which allows you to work on several duplicates of the print job all at the same time. Therefore, litho printing can actually save you both time and money if your desired print quantity is large enough and if factors suit it best, not to mention that is produces better quality prints.


Historically, litho printing is said to be producing the best quality, which is still a fact today, but digital printing quality is also already proven to be so good that, to the average layman, it would be difficult for him to tell the difference, even impossible. However, the use of large solid blocks of color and graduated tints often makes litho as the preferred method over digital.

Pricing and Speed Tipping Points

There is a tipping point between digital and litho printing when it comes to both speed and cost, and this will help you make the decision as to which to use. Typically, the former is less expensive for shorter runs, while litho would be cost-effective for longer runs, where prices would significantly reduce.