Offset Printing

Written by Jill Morrison
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Most of the printing you encounter is offset printing. Newspapers and magazines fit into this category as well as almost all commercial printing. The technique involves ink being spread on a metal plate with etched images. The images are then transferred to another intermediary surface, usually a rubber blanket. Finally, the images are applied to paper by pressing the paper against the rubber blanket.

Options for Offset Printing

Equipment is available for purchase to produce this variety of printing. However, the cost of the equipment is very high. Set-up costs are also a factor. A good deal of expertise is required to run the equipment and maintain it. However, once these obstacles are overcome, the actual printing process is relatively inexpensive.

Many commercial printers provide this type of printing for those who have occasional printing needs. Many businesses use desktop publishing which produces documents on the computer. The documents are printed as drafts on a laser printer. Then the final version is printed using offset printing. To get the intermediary surface needed requires film or high resolution paper which the printer can photograph.

Other types of printing processes are available. Engraving is used for fine stationery. Reprographics is copying and duplicating. Screen printing is used for T-shirts. Thermography is raised printing. All of these processes are more expensive that offset printing, which is considered the workhorse of the printing processes.

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