Although the first offset printing press for paper was created in 1903, offset printing is still one of the most common printing techniques used today. Much more cost-effective over longer print runs when compared to digital printing, offset printing also offers very high-quality reproduction. While it is regularly used for the printing of large publications such as magazines and newspapers, offset printing can be suitable for smaller items – such as flyers or brochures – that need to be printed in large quantities.
Offset printing takes its name from the ‘offset’ way in which the printing process actually works. The image of the page requiring duplication is put onto printing plates, which are then dampened with water and coated with ink. The ‘offset’ part of the printing is in the next step. The image is not applied directly from these printing plates to the paper – it is transfered to a rubber blanket, and then stamped from the rubber to the paper.
While the offset printing process may be a little tricky to grasp, it was actually discovered accidentally by printer Ira Washington Rubel at the beginning of the 1900s after he noticed the print made by a rubber roller was sharper than that made by a metal plate. He took his findings further and, by 1907, the Rubel offset printing press was sold off and in full use.
Offset printing is more economical if you only want to print using black ink, or two colours of ink. This said however, its standard of quality for colour prints is much higher for offset printing than for digital printing, as different digital printers may use slightly different inks. Digital printing however, may be more cost effective if you need to print many colours. It is the more affordable way to customise and update your material if you intend on regularly reprinting, for example with direct mail pieces or newsletters.
To find out if offset printing is what your next print job requires, call into your local Kwik Kopy and have a chat to your Account Manager. They’ll be able to advise you on whether offset printing is right for your business’s next project.
For more handy design and printing tips, head to your nearest Kwik Kopy Centre.