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Offset Printing: How it is done?

Sometimes, we wonder how the colorful magazines that we read or the captivating brochures that we receive came to be. Of course, it all started with a creative process. Writers and designers work together in order to create a good design. Once they are done with the planning and designing, printers take over and take responsibility in creating these designs and transforming them to a work of art. Printing is a seemingly complex area that involves an endless combination of skills, equipments and outcomes. Although letterpress and screen printing are some of the ways to put ink into paper, offset printing is one of the processes you will likely find in great quantity in most print shops.

Offset printing is mostly suitable for printing multicolor photos and artwork on papers. Most modern printing today is done through offset. The process involves the transferring of ink from the impression cylinder to the printed sheet. Offset printing is based on the principle that ink and water don’t mix. In the past, lithographers engraved images on a flat stone.

Some stone accepts water while others accept ink. When ink is applied on these stones, the image stays on the greasy area and avoids the rest of the stone. Today, this concept is still being used in printing but with the addition of one essential element - images are transferred from the printing plate to a rubber blanket and then to the paper. When the plate is exposed, an ink receptive coating is activated at the image area. The plate is then dampened by water rollers then by ink rollers. The ink sticks on the image area and the water to the non-image area. From this, the image is transferred to the blanket and the paper passes between the blanket and the cylinder and the image is them transferred to the paper. There are no limitations on tonal choices with offset printing. You can even use smaller fonts and much more detailed images. Offset printing is really good when working in four color process, if the print job is fairly detailed and uses a lot of color or tonal ranges.

Hence, modern printing has evolved through offset printing. With it, printing abilities today has increased significantly in quality and quantity.


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