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Digital vs Litho Printing

Published: 10/05/2016

Today, two main types of printing methods stand; Litho and Digital.

What are the key differences between Lithographic Printing and Digital Printing?

We are here to tell you...


Lithographic Printing

Litho printing splits the required image in to 4 colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black. These individual colours are then etched on to metal plates, that once installed in to a printing press, transfer each colour ink in sequence to the printed stock.

Therefore Litho printing requires an intermediate, such as plates in our case. This does in theory make the process longer than digital as there is this added extra involved.

The quality and cost-effectiveness in high volume jobs is a big factor. While today’s digital presses are getting closer to the cost/benefit ratio of litho for high quality work, they are not yet able to compete with the volume a litho press can produce. We produce over 2 million leaflets a month, all in high volume quantities, and 9/10 are produced on our Litho presses.

Leaflets aren't all we produce however! Any over printing work such as Letterheads require caution and cannot be done on our digital presses most of the time, to avoid any melting of inks during an overprinting process, our Litho presses elimate this.

If you’re planning to print using special spot colours like the Pantone® Matching System, litho printing will give you the best match, since it can use actual Pantone® ink. We use our litho presses for any spot colour work to produce accurate use of the Pantone® inks.

In Summary:

  • Cost effective at Large Quantities
  • Better Print Quality
  • Print on a large variety of stock
  • Print Spot (PANTONE) colours
  • Print large areas of solid colour


Digital Printing

Digital is more suitable for shorter runs whereas Litho for longer runs.

Although the cost per sheet is higher using digital, this price is avoiding all the technical steps, time and personnel required to print Litho.

We can print direct from the file to the machine without the need for any intermediate, making digital printing quick and handy. The main advantage of Digital printing is the much shorter turnaround time. Quite often Digital presses have the ability to cut, collate, and bind too, saving huge amounts of time and effort.

Digital machines use CMYK process colours only, unlike Litho.

In Summary:

  • Cost effective at Smaller Quantities Only
  • CMYK Process Colours
  • Reduced Quality
  • Limited choices of stock
  • Faster turnaround


Here at eColourPrint we take advantage of both technologies so that we are able to pick the correct technology for each particular job depending on weight & type of stock, turnaround required, run length & quality required based on the original file supplied.

Generally you can hardly tell the difference between the two processes. We aim to always choose the correct process for the correct job, giving you the highest quality prints.

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Artwork Tips

We love it when you send us your own artwork files. If you require any help we are always here and can usually solve many file problems for you. Supplying an artwork file for commercial print is not quite the same as printing your file on a desktop printer.

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You can track your order from start to finish. Login to your account to instantly see at what stage your order is: printing, cutting, packed etc. Once despatched, on FREE delivery, we send you a tracking email and you can track your parcel to your door.

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Free File Checking and Templates

Unsure about your artwork quality. We check your files for quality of images, colour setting, and any other issues that can arise. This is totally FREE, we will advise of any problems. Templates are available to help you set up bleeds etc. for Leaflets, brochures, posters.

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Don't know what size you require. Take a look at all the standard papers sizes available. Using standard sizes for leaflets and flyers makes the printing prices more competative. However we can print on any size paper your order requires.

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