So you’ve finally approved a fantastic design for your corrugated display after many drawings and many rounds of samples. Congratulations! Now it’s time to move the focus to the graphics in order to effectively show off your company’s brand and marketing message. The print method you choose for your project will be determined by a number of things… your budget, the quantity, and the kind of visuals you want to use, to name a few. Some print methods are more expensive than others. And some print methods allow you to achieve certain effects that others can’t. Being aware of these differences will allow you as the customer to make more informed choices in order to ultimately get what you want and to be able to communicate more effectively with your manufacturer.
Today we will focus on Offset Printing….
Offset printing it is the most commonly used high-volume printing method in-place today. In the past when a project required a large quantity of prints, offset printing was likely to be the style of printing that was required. Today, there are still substantial benefits to still choose offset printing over the increasingly common digital printing option, and that is what we are going to explore today — the benefits and limitations of offset printing.
What are the benefits of offset printing?
- Preferred option for fine image reproduction and color management.
- Preferred option for detailed line art reproduction.
- Ideal for heavy ink coverage.
- Can be used with special semitone colors in pastel, metallic, glow in the dark, and neon.
- Produces high quality print.
- Primarily because of price / quality ratio it has no equal to date for most printing runs of 500 or greater. Compared with other types of printing, offset printing ensures superb clarity and brightness of the manufactured products.
- The cost of the preparatory work can have a negative affect. The greater the number of end products, the lower the cost respectively.
How does offset printing work?
While Digital, Silk screen, and Flexograpic printing are all direct print methods, Offset printing is completely the opposite. Image and non-image areas are on the same surface level of specially treated printing plates. Offset printing method is based on the simple fact that oil and water do not mix at the single surface level. So ink adheres to the â€œright readingâ€ image area left on the printing plates and washes out of the non image area. The ink transfers from the printing plate attached to a printing cylinder to a synthetic blanket on a roll that transfers the â€œwrong readingâ€ image onto the paper stock. Primary colors used in 4/color process are Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), yellow and black. All secondary colors would be then made of a mix of gradients (tints) and solids of these primary colors unless additional special colors are used. Most offset presses today can do at least 6 colors inline. Each color must have its own ink reservoir, plate and blanket. Once the press has been adjusted for the proper ink flow and alignment (register), the final process begins. Drying time is almost instantaneous with todayâ€™s quality coatings. There are two type of offset printing:
Sheet-fed Offset Printing- in which printing is carried out on single sheets of paper that are fed through the press one at a time.
Web-fed Offset Printing- Â in which printing is carried out on a single, continuous sheet of paper fed from a large roll. The sheet is then cut to specifications for custom projects.
Next week… the ins and outs of Digital Printing!