Offset printing accounts for over 90% of the printed materials seen in today's business world. It is the direct
descendant of the original lithographic printing style and is based on the principle that oil and water do not mix.
A photographic negative is made of the image that is to be printed. This negative is placed on top of a light sensitive
aluminum printing plate and pressed together tightly on a vacuum table. When exposed to a high intensity light source,
light shines through the clear portions of the negative and your image is hardened to the plate. (Many shops today have
all this done by computer and go directly to the plate). This plate is then mounted on an offset printing press. As the
press is run, the printing plate is entirely covered with ink and then with water or alcohol. The water washes off all the
ink except where the image has been hardened. The printing press then transfers the inked image onto a rubber blanket,
which is then pressed or offset onto the paper. This occurs for each color printed.
Whether printed in single or multi colors the printed image remains completely flat with no raised or recessed areas.
This is where design and execution becomes critical. Taking this otherwise uninteresting piece and by the addition of tints,
accent colors and graphics it can be made into something to be noticed.
Offset printing is most commonly used for generic items like checks, business forms, reports, invoices and envelopes.
However with graphic enhancements many exciting brochures and stationery packages have been created.
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