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Litho Printing Vs Screen Printing

What's the different & what does it mean for me?

Screen printing vs litho printing
Litho printing offers you high definition, high speed printing.  This method is better for paper products which include photographs or complex graphics. Screen printing only applies one colour at a time so it is better sutied to more simplistic designs. This process uses highly durable inks and can print onto many different materials including plastic and metal.  Both of these printing methods are better suited to larger scale print runs due to the set up process involved.
 

The actual printing processes involved in both of these printing methods also differ quite considerable. Lithograph printing is described as an "offset" printing technique because contrary to screen printing the Ink is not applied directly from the printing plate. In this print method ink is applied to the printing plate and then transferred (offset) to the substrate. Screen printing is a traditional method that is based on the technique of stencilling. A fine mesh is used as the stencil, the ink is then forced through the unblocked areas of the mesh and onto the printing surface.  Screen printing only prints one colour at a time, so several screens are required to produce a multicoloured design, but it can use very specialist inks to create innovative print finishes such as Spot UV, Rub Remove (scratch cards) & Scratch & Sniff. 


So if your printing 1000 brochures which include a specific pantone colour you will be best with litho printing, but if you need 1000 safety labels that will need to be used in harsh environments then you will want them screen printed.

 

COMPARISON - Litho Printing & Screen Printing
 

 
Litho Printing

Screen Printing

Material Choice
 

Limited

Extensive
Print Run
 
1,000+ 1,000+
Lead Time
 
5-7 working days 7-14 working days
Pantone Inks
 
Yes Inks can be mixed to match a pantone shade
Subsurface Printing
 
No Yes
Variable Info (e.g. inidividual names)
 
No No

 

 

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