Lithographic & Digital Print

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Lithographic & Digital Print

Lithographic & Digital Print


Lithographic & Digital Printing are cost effective ways to produce large scale printing jobs. With over 30 years experience in print solutions Codex will recommend the best process available based on the scale of printing you're looking for that will both be the highest quality and most cost effective.



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Lithographic Printing is generally used more for longer runs whilst Digital Printing tends to shorter print runs. Digital printing involves printing a complete copy of a file at a time and tends to take less time than Lithographic Printing, as it’s generally less complex to set up. Codex Print Solution’s, are able to offer you the best price and turnaround time depending on the size of your order and how complex the printing is. Each order with our Print Solutions team is completely bespoke.

We do not print other jobs at the same time to save money as we believe your guidelines are the most valuable asset to your business.

Weight of stock is a key aspect of your order – apart from the stock cost itself; most Digital Printing machines require stock weights between 70 and 350gsm. However some offset lithographic printing machines accommodate both lighter and heavier weights.

Type of stock is another printing factor. Digital Printing machines tend to be more limited in the stock types they can print on to. However, Lithographic Printing presses still generally accommodate aLithographic & Digital Print Brochures wider range of stock types for the time being – the printing jobs themselves for more “specialist” types of stock tend to be cheaper, too. Some Digital Printing presses also cannot print images particularly vividly onto stock types with finishes applied, such as laid or gloss.

Run length pertains to how big the printing job itself is. For full colour printing, Digital presses are far more suitable and cost effective for shorter run lengths.

Turnaround is the amount of time it takes to deliver a project once it is ordered. It is generally accepted that Digital printing is faster than Lithographic printing, as the setups for Digital printing are considerably less complex, and there is also no need to make plates.

Quality used to be a significant difference maker between the two printing types. Historically, most people agree that Lithographic printing produces the best quality prints. However, the quality of Digital prints is now so good that to an average person, in the majority of cases it would be very difficult to tell the difference, if not impossible. Price, in many ways, is related directly to run length. Once again, Digital printing tends to be less expensive for shorter runs and Lithographic for longer, and prices are reduced significantly for very long runs.

Range of colours also influences the choice between the two printing types, as if a number of are required with a high level of detail, Lithographic Printing would be a better choice; Printing presses are now very good at matching many Pantone colours.

Commercial Lithographic PrintingLithographic Print


Commercial printing on a large surface is known as lithography. It is most commonly used to print text or graphics on paper and other materials that can be printed on. A long and intricate process, lithography involves pressing an entire print block on the surface of a sheet of paper or other printable material, this then gets the required image onto the materials with the help of a chemical process.


Lithography is also known as the planography print process because the print block used for the process is flat. The printer draws the desired image on the surface of the block with the help of an oil-based medium and an acid emulsified with gum Arabic. This will then help it to develop a layer of salt around the image this is then removed during a process called etching.


Turpentine is then used to remove the drawing material from the block leaving behind it the layer of salt which will hold together the initial design you have created. When it then comes to printing you must wet the surface of the block with water and put ink on the surface. This mix of paper and stone is then passed through the press which will place the ink onto the paper and lead to a stunning print using very complex but time tested techniques.


For many years this process has evolved making many changes and additions to the original process in order to make this a high standard of printing that is suitable for many that require high industry standards from their printed materials. The lithographic printing process was always considered as something that was only useful for large products but in recent years the industry has changed and this method has been used for business cards and letterheads and other office stationery that is in high demand.


Many people within the industry see the lithographic process as the best method for printing text and illustrations and with the evolution of this process you can now print millions of impressions at once and over a very short period of time. Apart from printing newspapers and books companies now use lithographic printing for general industry print, running short runs and longs with anything from direct mail campaigns to flyers and letterheads.