Tips and Advice

What is litho print?

Raise your hand if you have a friend who has a small business, or is now a self-professed wedding stationer, photographer, designer or illustrator? Or maybe you’re that very friend? New advances in the print industry and print on demand, as well as the ability to set up a business in your own home and online means that homemade and unique are the new high end designs. Read what is litho print and what is the different to digital printing.


What is lithography?

Lithography is a process of printing from a flat surface which is treated to repel the ink where it is required for printing. Typically a printing plate with a relief image is dampened with water and then coated in ink, so that the ink will only stick to parts of the plate not wet with the water. The printing plate is then fixed to a roller and the image or copy is transferred onto the paper fed underneath the roller. With off-set lithography the image is transferred directly onto the rubber roller, so the paper doesn’t contact the plate.


What’s the history?

Litho print has a rich history, with the term ‘lithography’ originating from the ancient Greek word ‘lithos’, which means stone, and ‘graphein’, which means to write. Lithographic printing came from very humble 18th century beginnings, invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap way to create theatre publications. Printing was originally achieved using a rudimentary system of wetting or inking limestone to get a printed relief.


How is it different to digital printing?

Digital printing is just a tad younger than its old pal, bursting onto the printing scene in the 1990’s. Digital printing involves transforming images into a matrix of pixels (dots) which are used to control the distribution of ink evenly to create the printed image. This type of printing technique is more suited to fast turnaround time print and lower volumes.


Why would litho print be right for me?

Lithography is great for bigger print jobs because once the plates have been made, actually creating the prints is pretty cheap and easy. Long-run print jobs, such as leaflets and flyers, hefty brochures, packaging, books etc., are more cost effective when printing this way.


At, we’ll always make sure that you’re getting the best value print for your money. So, if your job takes you into litho quantities, we’ll print it that way – you don’t need to worry about a thing!


About the author

When she’s not perusing the factory or planning our next product launch, you’ll find Emma doing some form of exercise. Whether it’s her favourite gym class or a walk around Northumberland with friends, she loves keeping fit!

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