What is offset printing?
Offset printing is a widely used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free.
Currently, most books and newspapers are printed using the technique of offset lithography. Other common techniques include:
flexography used for packaging, labels, newspapers
hot wax dye transfer
inkjet used typically to print a small number of books or packaging and also, to print a variety of materials from high quality papers simulating offset printing, to floor tiles; Inkjet is also used to apply mailing addresses to
direct mail pieces
laser printing mainly used in offices and for transactional printing (bills, bank documents). Laser printing is commonly used by direct mail companies to create variable data letters or coupons, for example
pad printing popular for its unique ability to print on complex three-dimensional surfaces
relief print, (mainly used for catalogues)
rotogravure mainly used for magazines and packaging
screen-printing for T-shirts to floor tiles