Design Concepts of Offset Printing

Design Concepts of Offset Printing

Offset printing is the most economical quality system for the large print run. In the communication campaigns of companies, offset printing services are still the most efficient and economical quality system for large print runs. It is the ideal system for printing catalogs or promotional brochures, art books, magazines, brochures, or other products commonly used in business communication. When you want to cover a promotional campaign with large quantities of brochures or catalogs, printing presses are used in the printing offset system so that the quality/price ratio is the most adjusted and that the client is satisfied.

Advantages of offset printing

For small runs, digital printing is usually used. It is much cheaper because it does not use plates, is much faster and has other advantages. But offset printing is important to have a binding department that guarantees the highest quality and efficiency, avoiding last-minute mistakes and ensuring delivery of the material to the client within the established deadlines. Here are some advantages of offset printing

  • It provides an excellent photographic quality
  • It is the right system to print medium and large print runs at an economic cost
  • For long runs, it is faster than digital printing
  • You can use any type of paper - coated and uncoated, with textures and with shutters
  • You can use special inks, pantones, gold, silver, varnishes
  • Paper sizes up to 72 × 102 cm
  • Great durability of the printed product

It is much-consolidated technology with constant and predictable results even using different machines or printers.

What is offset printing?

For those who do not know what the offset printing is, below you can read some basic concepts and details about it.

It is an indirect printing system evolved from lithography, which is based on the repulsion between fat ink and water. Its origins go back to approximately 1900 when the printer Ira Rubel (USA) observed that if it printed first on a rubber and then transferred that impression to the paper, the result was sharper and the plate lasted much longer without eroding.

To print in offset you use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, the well-known CMYK inks. All the colors, images, texts, etc. are broken down into their CMYK percentages and recorded on an aluminum plate, formerly through phytoliths and photovoltaic lamps, nowadays with modern CTP that through a laser engrave directly the printing on the emulsion of the plate. A plate is engraved for each of the inks.

The plates are placed in the printing press, each plate in a printing body. It is rolled in a plate cylinder and by means of rollers, it is provided with water which takes refuge in the pores of the plate where there is no drawing. And then you apply oil-based ink, which when repelled by the water takes refuge in the areas where there is drawing. That way you get ink "only" where there is drawing.

Step by step

The next step is to transfer that ink to another rubber roller which, by pressure, tears off the ink and in turn transfers it to the paper. Being rubber you can control the pressure and compensate for the inequalities of the plate or paper. This process is repeated for each of the CMYK colors. You can also add special colors, pantones, varnishes, etc. Digital printing is gaining ground to more traditional printing or offsets printing. The universe of graphic design encompasses different parts of its performance. The main functions at the operational level of any graphics company are the design in general from offset and digital printing in different types of products to all types of finishes.

Offset printing: basic concept

Many calls offset the traditional printing system that works with the application of ink, on a metal plate formed by an aluminum alloy. This plate is impregnated with ink in the areas that are covered with a component that repels water and the rest of the plate is wet with water that rejects the ink. With this, what you want to print is passed with pressure to a rubber blanket that presses the paper for printing.
Within an offset printing press, magazines, commercial catalogs, books, image manuals, brochures, leaflets, brochures, company stationery, cards, checkbooks, letters, printed envelopes, invoices, folders and in general any another impression that includes their manipulations. It has been used in the graphics industry since the early twentieth century and today is still very relevant. It is carried out with sheet metal prepared sheet by sheet in a flat press.

System and process

Offset printing is an indirect system that derives from lithography, in which the plate is partially wetted with water that repels grease ink. In this type of printing process or CMYK inks are used, composed of the initials of the colors that make it such as Cyan, Magenta, yellow and black. The system works from the decomposition of all the information of the design to be printed in percentages of those four colors. This decomposed information will be useful to record in aluminum with a laser what you want to print. Once in the printer, in areas where there is no drawing, there are small drops of water that repel the ink and redirect it to the area where there is, transmitting the desired image.

Conclusion: offset printing and digital printing

Opposite to offset printing, digital printing is a direct system where information passes to the printing machine without using plates or intermediate processes, which allows a fast machine start and a dry impression that facilitates the possibility of manipulating it on the spot. In addition, it provides great photographic quality and allows the customization of each sheet independently but not as great as offsite printing. The two types of printing are useful according to the needs that are required. The digital printing of books is reserved for short runs or printing of personalized books and allows fast deliveries. The printing of books in offset is much more economical, provided that they print minimum quantities, allows printing on all types of media and grammages, and accepts working with pantones and special inks and offers more quality.

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