The offset printing process has been around for many years, and almost every professional printer will offer this process. Offset has been used since the 1800s, and it does not involve the traditional method of applying ink directly to the surface that needs to be printed. History tells us a Munich resident named Alois Senefelder started using stones to reproduce images of a much higher quality than other methods available at the time.
While many printers these days offer digital printing which has its advantages for small formats and run, offset printing process is still the most common printing method available today. It is so popular because it is cost effective for medium and large runs and no matter what you are printing this process can almost always be used to ensure exquisite quality results.
You should always choose a professional printer who is large enough to handle bulk orders if you are interested in using offset. Some very small printing shops may not have the budget available to cover offset equipment or to offer special techniques and options. Offset printing equipment can output thousands of sheets per hour using a very large variety of paper stocks and weights and much larger formats than the digital counterpart.
During the offset printing process, the ink is not placed directly on the paper. Because of this, a consistently high quality can be achieved over the entire length of the printing run. There are no smearing or other quality issues caused by the inks being placed directly onto the paper stock, so the finished result is more attractive and appealing.
Despite the historic tradition of offset printing, computers have been introduced to improve the process, for example controlling the mechanical equipment, enhancing the colour output and technologies that allow direct computer imaging (often via PostScript files) of printing plates.
An offset printing press uses uses a rubber matt to imprint the colours onto the paper. Basically the inks are transferred to the mat surface surface before they are transferred again to the paper stock.
One of the benefits of this process is that the printed materials dry rapidly after they are fully completed. There are no concerns about smearing while being stored or damp items that end up wrinkled or diminished in appearance. The items produced by offset will usually dry within a few minutes at the most.
In summary, offset printing process can be used effectively with high volume orders. It offers a superb quality that is acceptable for most purposes at usually affordable prices.
Lithography, another name for offset, is a word that is actually derived from ‘image from stone’ as the first printing plates used for this process were made from limestone.
At Print Bureau we offer a full lithographic offset printing service with a complete in-house finishing department giving us full quality control for any type of printing job and even the largest quantities.