Back in the days printing of books, broadsheets, brochures and other printed materials are done via a meticulous process. Thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in 1439, printing process has been revolutionized and has been widely known all across Europe and America. The movable type allows a faster printing of books which in turn helped spread knowledge and education to many people.
Now printing has gone a long way because of technological advancement the people made. Books and other publications today can now be mass produced in a very short period of time while maintaining the quality of prints. There are now several ways of printing that publishers could choose from. Here are some of the well-known printing processes.
1. Offset Lithography
Famously known as Offset printing this process is considered the most cost-effective that is why many in the industry prefer this process. This also allows publishers to print high quantity of prints in faster time because the printing machine is very quick and easy top set up as long as plates are already available. Basically in offset printing, the roller plates are run through water and then ink. Ink adheres to areas with images (including texts and designs) while water on the white spaces of the layout. It is then pressed to a rubber plate before pressing on a paper. One of the major drawbacks of this printing process is the plate. Once a layout is already made into a plate, omissions cannot be easily changed.
This is the original process done by Gutenberg. Although it is clearly more advanced than the original press, the process is still the same. The image being printed is higher than the surface of the plate which will be pressed on the paper. With the technology becoming more advance, this process is becoming less famous and obsolete.
3. Digital Printing
I you will be printing a layout full of images you might want your prints to be of high quality so that the images won’t get blurry. The printing process that you should do is digital printing. This process is the most favored today because of its high quality prints and quick printing process from computer directly to the printer. Plates are not needed on digital printing so it needs lesser man power. This process however is expensive because of the ink and paper used by the printer. The colors can also be difficult to adjust or predict since the colors of the image to be printed might be different on the computer monitor.
Most of company letterhead and stationery are still printed using this method. The images printed on the paper are raised or engraved creating a more defined and attractive image. This however is only used for corporate logos or formal party invitations because it is very expensive and strenuous process.
5. Electrostatic Printing
Just like the xerography process or dry photocopying invented by Chester Carlson, electrostatic printing invented by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg in 1778, does not need ink or plates to print. In this process, the paper is coated with zinc oxide which acts as insulator in the dark and conductor if exposed to light. This process is mainly used for short run printing just like geographical maps and is becoming famous because it is prints faster than inkjet printers.
If you are planning to print something, taking notes of the pros and cons of these printing processes will be very helpful. Actually there are other processes that are not mentioned but the methods in the list are the common printing methods that you can try.