Digital vs Litho Print Production

General notes:

Litho printing is more suitable for longer runs and Digital printing is more suitable for shorted runs.

Litho printing requires an intermediate, such as a plate, however, Digital printing prints direct from your file to the machine and each copy is collated when it comes off the machine.

Although Digital printing will print one complete copy of the file at a time Litho Printing will produce the required number of copies from Page 1,2,3 and so on. The pages will then be collated [sorted into specific order] afterwards when they are away from the Press.

Litho setups are more complex and take longer than Digital set ups and therefore they are generally more simple to complete.

HD Pixel Print takes advantage of using both technologies allowing us to accurately pick the correct technology for each job individually depending on type of stock, weight, amount of copies, required turnaround and quality based on the original file received.

We can assure you HD Pixel Print will make the best decision on your behalf in order to deliver to you the quality you expect at the affordable price quoted and within the time frame that has been allocated.

Weight of Stock:

Most Digital machines, in general, will run on stock weights between 70 gsm and 300 although sometimes it can run on 350 gsm. Offset presses will run onto both heavier weights and lighter weights.

Type of stock:

Although ranges are increasing all the time Digital machines are generally more limited in the types of stock onto which they can print. However, the variety of stock for Litho printing is still wider and more often than not cheaper when selecting a specialist stock. When stocks have a finish applied to their surface e.g.Laid some digital presses do not image particularly well.

Run length [number of prints per image]:

Digital presses are more suitable for the shorter run lengths for full colour printing, generally from 1 up to around 500 although this last figure can vary depending on the particular requirements of the job. The printing figure of 500 will increase considerably if you are printing in only one colour black.


With Litho requiring plates it is generally accepted that Digital printing is faster since no complicated setups are required.


In the past people have said that Litho printing produces the best quality printing and that is still the case today. However these days, Digital printing quality is now so good that to the average person it would be difficult to tell the difference, if not impossible. Litho does use graduated tints and large solid blocks of colour this usually results in Litho being selected as the preferred process.


Please refer to Run Length above. Litho tends to be less expensive for the longer runs. Digital, however, is generally less expensive for the shorter runs. Prices do reduce significantly for the very long runs so please don’t be afraid to get in touch with us for a free quote.

Range of colours:

Although Digital presses are now very good at matching some Pantone colours if a number of specific spot [Pantone] colours are required to a high level of accuracy, then it may be best to specifically select Litho printing.

Original Image Quality:

Good quality from images as low as 150dpi can be produced using Digital printing as it is slightly more forgiving than Litho. Litho also needs considerably more resolution than Digital.