Digital vs lithographic printing

litho vs digital printing colour charts

Do you find yourself getting lost in a maze of printing terms that you can’t quite seem to get your head around? Get the low-down on the two of the most widely used printing terms, what they mean and—most importantly—what they can do for you.

Don’t let the fancy-schmancy name fool you, lithographic printing came from very humble 18th century beginnings. Originally achieved using a rudimentary system of wetting/inking limestone to get a printed relief, lithography (or litho, for short) now uses flexible plates attached to rollers. A tad more efficient, we think you’ll agree.

Lithography is great for those bigger jobs because once the plates have been created, making prints is incredibly cheap and easy. This also means that if you have a long-run print job, like packaging or books, you can enjoy more cost effective printing.

litho vs digital printing printer


A mere youngster compared to its pal, lithography, digital printing burst onto the scene in the early 90s. Every bit as futuristic as it sounds, digital printing is achieved by transforming images into a matrix of dots (pixels, to you and me) which are used to control the distribution of ink to create the printed image.

Now that you know all about its short, yet complex history, what can digital printing offer you? Aside from gorgeously green credentials, you’ll be able to get small, short print runs easily and at lower prices. If you only need one of something, or like to change up your print regularly, the short affordable runs you can get with digital are ideal.

Can’t decide which you’d rather back? Not to worry! Here at, you can enjoy both digital and lithographic printing in one place, so no matter the size or duration of the job, you’re covered!


04 Apr 2015 16:37
Digital print makes short runs so affordable.
David Brookes
05 Apr 2015 05:01
Thanks for the explanations. I just see it as print :-)
Stuart Glegg
08 Apr 2015 14:34
Useful, litho is generally higher quality as well, especially on finer details, thin font weights etc.
Anne-Charlotte S
22 Apr 2015 16:15
Mirlah @ Best Day Ever
20 May 2015 11:00
Thanks for the tips! I stick to digital currently and would love to get into different types of print, really want to try letterpress and foil blocking too! xox

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