Some customers get offset printing confused with digital, but they are not the same. Both offer four colours and use a flat printing method but the processes are different.
Used by many printers and incredibly popular, offset printing is a technique where ink is transferred via a plate to a rubber ‘blanket’ and then onto the surface to be printed. It is quite technical and it takes the skill of the operator to achieve perfect results.
Sometimes referred to as lithography, if you order postcards, business cards, brochures or stationery, this is likely the method that will be used.
To start off, the files to be used have to be converted from RGB to CMYK and this must be done expertly as it can result in the file changing and colours being altered. Once the file is ready and approved, it should look very similar to the finished item. It cannot give an exact representation as the method of creating the ‘proof’ is different. It should also be noted that the proofing material (card) is different from the stock card that will be used hence colours may vary.
Once the customer approves the proof, plating takes place. Metal plates are positioned on the printing press with one for each of the four CMYK colours or any Pantone reference if the job is just for a single colour.
The stock – card in this case – is cut to size to fit the press. The printing press can now be run; how long this takes will depend upon the quantity being produced.
Once the press has finished the processing, bindery takes place involving such things as die cutting, scoring, folding etc. The ink needs to be dry before the job can be finished and boxed.
Which is better – offset or digital?
Offset comes tops and although the process can take quite a long time and be more expensive (if you have a smaller quantity), the results are worth it. A varied mix of materials can also be used.
Digital is faster and less expensive but the quality may not be as good as when compared to offset printing.
Offset printing offers the best quality as colours can be reproduced more accurately and like all other artisan techniques, the pricing improves as the volume grows.
If you are not sure which option to go for, ask your printer for advice. Professional printers will look at your proposed project, get a good understanding of it and be clear about what you are trying to achieve.
All printers offer a range of different methods so if you are looking for an offset printing job to be carried out, make sure that your printer offers it.
It may be slightly more expensive and cost more but the results speak for themselves in terms of superior quality.
Speak to the team at Print That Now today and get your offset printing project taken care of.