Offset Printing

What is offset printing?

Just like transfer printing, offset printing is an indirect flat printing process. This means that the color is not printed directly onto the promotional item, but it is transferred via a rubber blanket cylinder. Offset printing is used daily for print materials like flyers, posters, packaging, newspapers and brochures. Those responsible for advertising choose this printing method above all because of the feasibility of large print jobs on paper.

History of offset printing

The roots of offset printing go back to the late 18th century to stone printing, invented by the Czech Alois Senefelder. This was based on the principle that water and fat repel each other. He coated the parts of his printing plate to be printed with oily ink which repels water, and wet the rest with a special oil-repellent mixture. He then applied greasy paint to his printing plate with a roller, which then only stuck to the areas previously coated with ink. The resulting printed image could then be pressed onto the paper like a stamp.

How offset printing works

Today's offset printing follows a similar technical pattern to Senefelder's original technique. As a rule, the CMYK color model (cyan, magenta, yellow, key (black)) is used for the colors. Each color gets its own printing plate and is individually illuminated, which leads to a change in the surface structure. As a result, the colors can only be applied to the areas specifically intended for them. The printing plates are then inserted into the four printing units, each supplied with one color of the CMYK color model via inking units, thus transferring their print image to a rubber blanket stretched over a cylinder. This cylinder then prints the paper sheets that are passing through one after the other.

Are there several variants of this printing form?

A basic distinction is made between two types of this form of printing: sheetfed offset printing and web offset printing. With sheetfed offset printing, individual sheets are placed in the printing press, which makes it ideal for smaller order quantities. However, new sheets always have to be added by hand. Web offset printing is suitable for large order quantities, such as daily newspapers or catalogs or other paper printing. The paper on paper rolls weighs several tons, which the printing machine gradually accesses. There is no need to change sheets during the printing process.

What makes offset printing so attractive to advertisers?

One of the most striking quality features when printing with offset printing is the razor-sharp edges without rips or jagged edges. More characteristic are the smooth backs without shading. Offset printing is the most popular printing process for large formats and large orders for advertising brochures, flyers, packaging materials or advertising banners. In terms of quality, this printing process surpasses digital printing by far. This is because the color application can be adjusted even more finely with offset printing, thus ensuring the most precise printing results. Making a printing plate takes a lot of time to prepare, but it pays off immediately as the plates only have to be made once and can then be used over and over again.

Which promotional items are best suited for offset printing?

Offset printing would be classified together with digital printing in the upper class of bulk paper printing. Any project, whether in the form of paper or cardboard, can be branded with offset printing. Informational brochures or flyers, paper bags, and catalogs can be printed in order to showcase present products or services. If you also want to be present in communication, you can rely on greeting cards, invitations or postcards custom-printed with the company logo or brand design. Stationery decorated with a logo also makes a special impression. Promotional items that are also useful in everyday life, such as notebooks, calendars, folders and planners are particularly popular. If you want to give your promotional products the perfect finishing touch, elegantly printed packaging material is a nice touch for your recipient.

What colors are possible when printing by offset printing in a printing house?

In most cases, a print shop uses the CMYK color model for this printing process, with which almost every imaginable color can be mixed for printing. However, there are also special colors, such as gold or silver, which are outside of the possible color spectrum. For such cases, there are other color palettes with which such special colors can be mixed. However, if a printing press has more than four inking units, there is also the option of using an additional, specially mixed color in the print. This is called the spot color. It is particularly sensible to think about such a spot color if the item to be printed is to support the corporate design of the company. The right color match when printing is particularly important.

What are the costs for printing with the offset printing process?

Offset printing is a process that should be used for high-volume printing projects. This is mainly due to the long set-up time, which extends to test prints and the individual creation of printing plates. Subsequent changes to the artwork after the plates have been made will incur additional costs. However, if the motif is certain and the preparatory work is completed, this printing process delivers high-quality results that cannot be surpassed in terms of color, quality and sharpness of the printed image. The perfect way to put a company in the limelight - regardless of whether it's with elegant packaging or a high-quality print flyer.

Offset printing and its advantages at a glance

  • This offset printing process is much cheaper than digital printing, especially for large quantities.
  • There are hardly limitations when it comes to paper size, so large format advertising banners can attract maximum attention.
  • Promotional items with offset printing are characterized due to their high-quality printing. Details like sharp edges, lettering and contours are to be expected.
  • There are almost no limits to the choice of color, which makes offset printing an ideal for choice for a uniform corporate design.
  • A high abrasion resistance underpins the high quality of the advertising print.

Individual special production when printing

Individual special print productions can also be produced using the offset printing process. It always happens that the right offer is not included because you want something very individual. With this process, a professional print product can be created that will last for a long time thanks to its high quality.