What You Need to Know About Offset Litho Printing and Digital Printing


Advances in technology have increased the options available to business owners who would like to print some promotional materials. You can use a digital printer, or you can use an offset litho printer. This article compares those two printing technologies so that you can choose the right one for your printing needs.

What They Are

Offset litho printing refers to a method of printing by which inks can be transferred onto aluminium plates before industrial scale printing is done. Each colour in the image that you would like to print is separated onto an individual plate. The plates are arranged in the printing press so that the desired image is printed onto a material that rolls over the press.

A digital printer relies on a digital file of a document or image in order to create an impression of that document or image on a surface. The digital printer does not need to have the required colours prepared separately. It applies all the needed colours at the same time.

Set Up Time

The process of offset litho printing requires a detailed setup process so that appropriate plates are prepared before the actual printing is done. This makes offset litho printing very time consuming. Digital printing collapses the time needed to produce prints. Once a digital file is delivered to the printer, prints can be produced immediately. This means that you can print images or documents at short notice.

Cost Effectiveness

As already mentioned, offset litho printing has an elaborate preparation process before prints can be produced. That process includes preparing special plates for a test print to be made. Those processes make it very expensive to use this printing method if you would like to print a few copies of a document or image. However, offset litho printing is affordable if you are printing on a large scale, such as when you are printing thousands of vehicle stickers. Digital printing is cost effective if you are printing a few copies of an image or document. However, it can be expensive if you would like to use this method for large-scale printing.


Offset litho printers use the same kind of ink and the same material for making plates. Consequently, it is possible to have the same quality of print even if different litho printers have been used. The condition for this uniformity is that you must use the same kind of paper. The quality of digital prints can vary from one printer to another. Consistent quality can only be achieved if the same type of printer is used to print on the same type of paper.


19 April 2016

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