Published on Friday 19 October 2012
When it comes to printing some people tend to panic about what to do. They hear all of these new terms that they’re not familiar with but it’s really not that complicated. Below I have outlined the two most common printing processes and this will help you to decide which is best for your needs.
Offset lithographic printing works through a process of ink to plate, then ink on plate to blanket and finally ink on blanket to paper on a series of rollers. Some of the most common uses are for brochures, magazines, newspapers, flyers, leaflets and business stationery.
Although lithographic printing is an excellent option for producing consistently high quality prints with clean sharp images it is worth remembering that it is only really economic in volume and is more suited to larger runs on a commercial scale. The reason for this is that the high costs in all processes can make running small quantities very expensive in per copy terms.
Digital printing has become very common place in recent years. Essentially, it’s the same idea really, image on paper but instead of ink digital presses use toner. The image is printed directly from the digital press to the paper with no other processes.
Although digital printing typically has a higher cost per page than lithographic printing there are much lower set-up costs. The saving in time and labour means you can produce short run, professional and high quality prints very cost effectively.
Digital print also allows for quick turn around on demand printing, with an option for variable data on each copy. The technology and the advancing capabilities of digital presses means one day we may say goodbye to lithography altogether, but not yet!
I am sure I speak for anyone who loves print when I say that I hope there will always be a place for high quality lithographic printing.
One last point, if you are considering some printing, remember that it’s good to be green. Try and consider the many green alternatives when going to print. A wide variety of greener paper, ink and coating choices form FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), 100% recycled, and 50/50 recycled papers. Vegetable oil based inks and biodegradable coatings and laminates are available.
Printing doesn’t have to harm your pocket or the earth.
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