Litho VS Digital Printing For Letterheads

Should I Use Litho Or Digital Printing For Letterheads?

For most orders of letterheads, we would say that digital printing is the way to go. Modern, top-of-the-range digital printing has effectively closed the gap with litho in terms of finished print quality, giving you very high-quality custom letterheads with a much smaller price tag. 

Really, the only time that we’d recommend litho printing for letterheads is when it comes to printing onto certain textured papers, or for precision colour-matching, which uses specific Pantones to match particular brand colours. This is sometimes referred to as spot colour letterhead printing

Cosmetically, litho printing still has an advantage if you’d like to include a faint printed watermark on your letterheads, but this may also be recreated using digital printing. As with all print orders, it really comes down to the design in question – so if in doubt, we’d recommend contacting our team for their advice. 

Generally speaking, litho still carries a lower cost-per-print on runs of over two thousand sheets of A4. This is why it remains the best option for massive print runs, like national newspapers, where the sheer quantities involved (and the high speed of production) make the setup charge worthwhile.

For much smaller print runs, like most professional letterheads, there’s really no need to go the traditional lithographic route when digital printing can give you high-quality results more cheaply.  For more information about the technical details, see our blog article 'What's the difference between litho and digital print?' 

What Makes Digital Printing For Letterheads A Better Option?

Modern digital printing is an ideal way to print just about anything. It’s generally faster and cheaper than lithographic printing for almost any short print run, with very little difference in quality.

Unlike litho, digital printing doesn’t carry a setup charge to create printing plates. The whole digital process is effectively done at the touch of a button, making it much faster than lithographic printing for almost any short-to-medium print run. This superfast process means lower labour costs for print companies like us – which means we can pass the saving on to you, with lower prices for your prints.

Letterhead Printing Paper Options

Can I Use Digitally Printed Letterheads In My Desktop Printer?

Yes. Inkjet and dot matrix printers don’t use heat as part of the printing process, so you’re completely fine to put digitally printed letterheads through these types of machine. Modern, up-to-date laser printers are fine too. Years ago, some laser printers generated so much heat that they risked melting the toner used on digital pre-prints, (like letterheads), leading to printer issues like ghosting or smearing. But modern laser printers don’t generally get hot enough for this to happen.

Are Digitally Printed Letterheads Right For Me?

In terms of cost and quality, we highly recommend digitally printed letterheads for the vast majority of our customers – unless they really would like to print massive quantities, or use specific Pantones, or print onto a particular textured paper that we aren’t able to offer with our digital process.

As always, we’d recommend contacting our team if you have any questions about digitally printed letterheads. Just like any printed item, it’s really a case of weighing up speed, versus cost, versus quality… but in our opinion, modern digital printing is easily the better option for the vast majority of our customers’ needs.