printing process cover

Printing Processes Explained

Ever been confused about how one printing process is different from another? There are many print processes used every day in the print industry, but most people know little of what is exactly involved.

Here’s a few examples to get you started.

Offset lithography is the world’s most common printing process. There’s sheetfed printing as well as web offset. Web presses use large rolls of paper known as webs; sheetfed presses use paper that comes in sheets. Ink is transferred from metal plates to a rubber blanket on a cylinder to the paper. Most commercial printers in Australia have offset printing presses. Offset printing is used for all print run lengths, from short to long. Web presses are primarily used for long runs. Which press your job should run on all depends on a number of specs including but not limited to size, paper, format and quantity. We can let you know which best fits your job.

Letterpress LEAD-IMAGE-LETTERPRESS-webis known as “relief” printing. Johannes Gutenberg is known as the Father of Letterpress printing with his invention of the movable type printing press in 1439. Relief printing refers to the images on the plate, which are higher than the surface, similar to a rubber stamp. Letterpress printing is being produced by fewer and fewer printers, becoming somewhat of a niche market, but it is absolutely gorgeous. Combining this beautiful old-world process with 100% cotton cards and papers produces pieces that are as impressive to look at as they are to the touch. A true artform.

Dmorgan_printing_suites_13_webigital printing is the newest kid on the block – and every customer and company I know has a need for digital printing. Today’s digital presses use either toner or ink-jet technology rather than oil based inks. A brand-new image is made from your digital file every time. Digital printing is ideal for short-run or fast-turnaround jobs. You can print the exact amount you need with little waste due to the fast setup and virtually none of the traditional makeready of offset presses. Digital has improved tremendously in recent years compared to offset, in pricing and quality. Some would even argue that digital has the nod on its offset counterpart in some applications!

Screen printing was always called silk-screen printing, but today’s screens are also made of various other fabrics like nylon, or even stainless steel, in addition to the tradional silk. Ink is forced through a screen using a stencil pattern onto various types of papers and fabrics. Typical uses are T-shirts, signage, and point-of-sale displays.

Reprographics is a term describing duplicating and copying. Think in-house copy departments and copy or instant printing shops. (What job today isn’t an instant print job?) In simple terms, duplicates are produced of your originals.

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is an add on to digital printing that lets you personalise every copy. Words, images – or both – can be changed on each printed piece of paper.

 

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