Following our recent Geek Outs over Lithographic and Digital Printing, you may now be wondering: 'what's the difference?'
In this weeks Geek Out, we're looking at what separates the litho print from the digital print, and what other options are out there.
|Best for large print runs due to print plate set up cost being spread across more pages.||
|Very little set up costs and a quick turnaround makes digital printing perfect for low volume prints.|
|The lithographic method allows for the printing of high quality prints with a consistent image.||
|Digital print quality can be less consistent than lithographic, but the process is constantly improving.|
|Due to the creation of printing plates, lithographic printing has a much longer turnaround time.||
|As digital printing has significantly less set up required, the turnaround time is much quicker.|
|The set up of the printing plates make the initial cost of lithographic prints relatively high, however the cost per sheet lowers at higher quantities.||
|Digital printing is much more cost effective for smaller print runs, as the process is much faster and efficient, but larger runs don't decrease in cost.|
|Lithographic printing uses CMYK colours and can also Pantone match, and print metallic or fluorescent inks.||
|Digital printing simulates the CMYK matching process, with theink distributed in accordance with a digitised image.|
|Lithographic printing plates require a lot of setup and can't print variable data, so each print in a run must have the same design.||
|Digitally printed products can be customised with variable data printing, allowing for personalised designs to be printed.|
Overall, Digital Printing is the best solution for lower budgets, shorter runs, or for personalised products, whilst Lithographic Printing is best for large print runs requiring a high quality print or special colour effects such as Pantone matching, fluorescent inks, or metallic print.
Alternative Printing Methods
Throughout the world of print, there is also a selection of other methods which are used to print on other materials or for specialty products. For example;
Wide Format Printing
Wide format printers are specialist printers that use a version of inkjet technology to print larger images such as banners, flags, and trade show graphics. These printers are usually designed to print on a roll which is fed through the machine, as opposed to being printed on individual sheets.
Screen printing is a technique that involves ink being forced through a mesh-like stencil in order to print onto a wide range of surfaces such as textiles, wood, glass, vinyl, metal, and plastic. Screen printing can sometimes be used as a substitute for lithographic printing as it can use a variety or inks and fabrics, and it can also be used for the decorative process of Spot UV.
Sublimation printing (also known as Dye Sublimation or Dye Sub) is a process which uses a heat press to seal an image onto a specially coated surface such as a mug. The heat allows the ink from the image to penetrate the printing surface to produce a permanent full colour image. This creates a long lasting and scratch-resistant finish, with the image combining with the print surface and making it more durable.