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Getting printed: Litho vs Digital

By 9 July 2012No Comments

You’ve got your professionally designed logo, your business card, letterhead and comp slip so now it’s time to get them printed.

Advances in technology means that there are fast, cheap ways to get this done now.  But is this the best route to take to show off your professionalism?  Maybe the investment in the tried and tested type of printing is worth it.

Two types of printing – Litho

The traditional printing technique is litho printing.  This involves making a ‘plate’ of the design or information to be printed; this is transferred to a rubber sheet which then prints onto the paper.

Where modern technology has improved, this form of printing is that the design can go directly from computer to film, which is then used to make the plate.  This ensures a speedier and accurate transfer of information.

There are several reasons why this method is the preferred one:

  • It reproduces a consistently high quality image and type
  • The printing plates are quick and easy to produce
  • The printing plate has a longer printing life – which means it is easy and cheaper to order repeat print runs as the plate is in existence
  • This is the most cost-effective way to produce large volumes of high quality print work
  • It offers the ability to adjust the amount of ink ensuring clear copy

Foil printing

There are additional techniques which can be achieved using litho printing including foil printing.  This is used to highlight areas; it is often seen on book covers or wedding invitations for instance.  But if your logo has a gold or silver element for instance, this could be reproduced on printed materials using roll leaf foil.  This gives your print a really professional look.

Spot colour

Most colour printing involves the standard use of 4 spot colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  There are others that can be added, namely orange and green.  You can also add metallic or fluorescent.  Using a spot colour technique, each colour requires its own film and is laid down individually on the print i.e. all blue areas are printed at once, followed by all red etc.

UV coatings

A UV coating is a process which applies the coating to your printed documents and is dried using ultra violet rays.  One of the pluses of applying a UV coating is that it intensifies colour.

Two types of printing – Digital

Digital printing involves a direct pc to print technique.  It means that turn around time is quicker than litho printing but quality often suffers.

The quicker turn round time is because this method doesn’t require printing plates to be made.  Some of the negatives of digital printing include:

  • Higher cost per page
  • Loss of fine image detail

Litho printing obviously offers many opportunities to print more complicated variations and all of these processes can add to the costs.  But even simple litho printing for one, two or four colour printing will give your business stationery a really professional look.  A professional business is what you want to convey to your custome

Contact British Design Experts if you want more advice.