Beginning this process requires creating metal plates – typically aluminum – etched with images or texts desired, using photolithography technology. Any areas that are printed slightly raised, while those that will not remain neutral once ready, will be attached to large rotating cylinders on a printing press.
Each color in a design needs its printing plate to reproduce it accurately; these include cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), comprising an extensive spectrum of hues. When printed on a press, these must be precisely aligned for optimal registration of all shades.
Printing involves applying ink evenly onto metal plates and spreading it over raised image areas, then rotating these inked plates against a rubber blanket cylinder, which transfers their images onto it – eventually rolling over onto paper substrate and offsetting its ink onto it.
Offset printing stands out among its key advantages as one of its key benefits due to its consistent, high-quality prints. This technique makes long shot runs especially efficient as images can be accurately reproduced with vibrant hues while maintaining great definition and detail.
Offset printing stands out among its competition as it offers flexibility in handling various paper stocks, printing on weighted and texture papers to allow publishers to choose which best suits their book or publication.
Offset printing provides more cost-efficient results when producing larger print quantities due to lower setup and press costs compared to digital. Offset also becomes less costly with each unit printed; per-unit costs decrease as production volume grows.
Offset printing allows for many finishing options, such as gloss or matte coatings, varnishes, and embossing, to enhance printed materials’ visual appeal and durability. Such enhancements add aesthetic beauty as well as greater longevity for printed pieces.
The book and publishing industries have long utilized offset printing due to its ability to produce high-quality prints in large volumes consistently. Thanks to technological developments, offset printing has become more precise and color-accurate, meeting contemporary publishing industry printing standards.