Digital vs Litho Printing

Digital vs Litho Printing
Digital vs Litho Printing

At Gemini Print Group, we’re experts in digital and lithographic printing, so we know our stuff. The biggest question asked when discussing digital vs. litho printing is “Which one would be best for my printing needs?”. 

We’re here to answer all the critical questions on the digital vs. litho printing topic such as what is lithographic printing, what is digital printing, and which one is best suited for specific needs.


What is Lithographic Printing?

Lithographic printing uses rubber rollers, which transfer the ink from metal plates, directly onto paper. Lithographic printing is a long-standing traditional method of printing. It has been the most common type of print, used primarily until digital printing was introduced in 1989.


What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is a more modern process, which involves complex computing that tells the press how to create the image on the paper. The image on the screen is analysed and then 

converted into a format, which can then be printed directly onto the surface required.


Litho vs. Digital Printing: Which is for Me?

How do you decide which type of printing is best for what you’re looking for? When deciding on this, there are a number of points to consider, as both methods of printing have their own advantages and disadvantages. 


The Differences Between Digital and Litho Printing

Speed, quality and cost are usually the three most important factors when establishing the differences between digital and litho printing.



If you need a small volume printed quickly, digital printing is by far the best option as there are no lengthy set-up procedures. Lithographic printing has a much lengthier set-up, so for smaller printing jobs, digital is the suggested method.

For larger print jobs, lithographic printing can produce more per hour which is where the longer setup becomes more worth it.



Quality is not just dependent on the type of printing method but also depends on the type of paper you choose to print on. 

With lithographic printing, the ink soaks into the paper, whereas with digital printing, the ink generally sits on top of the paper. Depending on whether you go for digital or litho printing, the finish can appear quite different. 

In terms of the type of paper used, If you use silk or gloss paper, then the quality will be very similar no matter the print choice. However, if the paper is uncoated or textured, lithographic printing will provide a much better quality and consistency of print. This is especially true if there is heavy ink coverage or solid blocks of colour. 



Cost is dependent upon the volume of print you’re looking to produce. With digital printing, there are no setups required. Printing can start immediately, so for small volumes of print, this can be relatively cost-effective. Whilst Lithographic printing will take more time to set up, this method of printing becomes hugely more economical when printing much higher volumes. 


Digital or Litho Printing Services

No one type of printing is better than the other, it’s all about weighing up the three main factors mentioned above and deciding which method is best and most relevant for your needs, given the overall specification of the print job. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll provide you with personal advice on the best option for you.

Take a look at the print and finishing services we have available – for any job big or small we’re happy to advise and take it from there. If you also have any queries on litho vs. digital printing and which type of printing would be best for you, get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise. 

1A Dolphin Way
West Sussex, BN43 6NZ

01273 464884

25 Hockeys Lane
Bristol, BS16 3HH

0117 965 5252

2 Leathermarket Street

0203 195 3000