Lithographic printing (often referred to as litho printing) is a process that uses wet ink and printing plates to produce high quality results.

If you’re unsure whether to opt for litho or digital printing for your next job, there’s a few criteria to consider that should help make the decision easier.

You want large blocks of colour

Litho is ideal if you have large blocks of a singular or bold colour as it comes out smoother and no pixels can be seen. It is also by far the better option if you want to use metallic, specific spot colours (Pantone) and add a UV varnish.

You don’t mind an upfront cost (but with overall savings on large print jobs)

The initial costs of litho printing are often higher than with digital. This is because your design needs to be made on printing plates and set-up with the machinery. This will incur a larger upfront cost than digital which can be run as soon as the design is ready. However, the benefit of litho really comes into play when you have a large print run as the cost per print will be lower than if you were to opt for digital.

Your print job is less urgent

As mentioned above, lithographic printing needs to be set up, or ‘made ready’, and this will increase the lead time on a print job. If you urgently need prints, then digital may be the better option.

You don’t need personalised items

Due to the creation of the printing plates, it can be difficult and costly to add personalisation to a job when using litho printing. If this is a key feature of your campaign, you may want to weigh up if this time and cost is worth it, or if it might be better to opt for digital instead.

You want to print on a material other than paper

Whilst both methods are ideal for printing on paper, when it comes to other materials such as silk, uncoated, glossy or textured card or paper litho wins hands down.

Another thing to note here is that litho can often outshine digital when it comes to heavier paper types, with digital running around 70-300gsm stock and litho 60-500gsm. This is however a very general figure so it’s important to speak to a printing expert about the options available.

If you want to learn more about this process in detail, visit our more in-depth guide to lithographic printing.

Expert advice and service on your next litho printing job

To find out more about our high-definition litho printing or digital printing services, contact the Taylor Bloxham Group today on 0116 234 2600 or email

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