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Common Questions

What is Offset Printing?

Offset printing, also called offset lithography, is a method of mass-production printing in which the images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media. The print media, usually paper, does not come into direct contact with the metal plates. This prolongs the life of the plates. In addition, the flexible rubber conforms readily to the print media surface, allowing the process to be used effectively on rough-surfaced media such as canvas, cloth or wood. The main advantage of offset printing is its high and consistent image quality. The process can be used for small, medium or high-volume jobs.

What is 4 Color printing?

Any company that can provide offset printing services will typically use the 4 color printing process, and this is also true with almost every commercial printer. This color scheme uses 4 standard colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, and it offers printed images that are vibrant and realistic. RGB is a color scheme that only uses 3 colors.Each color [with CMYK] is represented by a corresponding value of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, on a scale from 0% to 100%.

is offset printing cost effective?

One of the biggest advantages of the offset printing services, besides exceptional image quality, is the fact that this type of order is usually very cost effective when items are printed in bulk quantity. With offset the more items printed the lower the individual cost per item will be. This means larger orders will have a lower per piece cost, making it more cost effective.

why is the offset process used?

There are many reasons why offset printing services are ordered. These services provide high quality images and printed materials, they can be very cost effective with a low per piece price when a bulk order is placed, and offset is a common choice because it has a reasonable turnaround time and each printed item is consistent throughout the process. There are some projects that require perfection each and every time, and the offset process can provide this.

when should i use offset printing versus digital printing?

The term digital printing can refer to processes taking place on one of many different types of equipment. Usually, digital printing refers to a device in which the image can be changed easily from sheet to sheet without changing plates or blankets. Although not a universal definition, most digital printers involve the use of dry toner or rapidly drying ink.

Offset printing is the best choice for documents with only a few originals and many prints of each original, while digital printing is best for documents with many originals and few prints of each original. Another differentiating factor is that although digital technology has made huge advances, offset printing typically produces the highest quality images available. On the other hand, digital copying can be the best choice for very quick turnaround jobs as digital printing is a dry process. Both digital printing and offset printing are employed at The Print Authority.

For more details on how to decide which process to use, call The Print Authority, at 9500954300

what are metallic inks?

Metallic inks are ink colors which contain metallic flecks, making these shinier than standard ink colors. Although most people think of metallic inks as being gold, silver or copper, there are also other colors, like blue, green and red available in metallic colors. These inks print like other inks except that they are more difficult to clean up on the printing press.

do ink colors cost more than black ink to print?

Although pricing philosophy varies from one printing company to another, ink colors usually cost more than black ink to print. There are two main reasons for a cost difference. First, colored inks typically cost more to produce than black ink does. Second, printing companies usually assume that black ink will be run every day since so many documents contain black. To run a colored ink, the press operator must “ink up” the press with that color and then must wash it up when the job is complete.

what are different coatings that are available in offset printing?

A coating is a type of clear covering which lays on top of the ink. This seals in the ink and protects the printed piece from fingerprinting and excessive handling. Coatings are most important for pieces which have extensive ink coverage or large solids.

Varnish is a simple clear coating which can be applied on press to seal in the ink colors. You cannot usually see varnish easily. Varnish can be either shiny or dull.

UV coating appears as a shiny clear coating which sits on top of the ink. You can feel UV coating as it is much heavier than varnish.

Aqueous coating is another coating which seals and protects.

Please call the experts at The Print Authority to find out whether a coating is a good idea for your next printing project!

What is the difference between “Spot” color printing and “Four Color Process” printing?

Spot color printing is offset printing in which specific PMS ink colors are used. With spot color printing, one can be precise about which colors will appear on the final printed piece.

Four color process printing refers to offset printing in which four set colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are used to simulate most other colors. Four color process printing is also known as process color or full color printing. Although most colors can be simulated in four color process printing, one cannot be precise about the exact colors which will appear on a final printed piece. Four color process printing should be done on a press with at least four heads for the best quality results.

What types of proofs are used on offset printed jobs?

Proofing can vary greatly from printing company to printing company. At The Print Authority, we insist on proofing all offset printed jobs prior to printing, even ones which have been printed before.

For spot color printing jobs, proofs can be either simple black and white proofs or simple color proofs. For remote clients, a PDF of the final arwork can serve as a proof and an email reply can serve as proof approval. For four color process printing jobs, we frequently use a similar process. For full color offset printing, there is no advance proof which will produce exactly the same colors as the final printed piece.

For color critical projects, you can do a press check. In a press check, the client sees the first sheet off of the press. Once approved, we print the remainder of the project. Usually press proofs take about 15 minutes. If press checks involve more than minor adjustments, there may be additional charges.

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