Salt Lake Mailing & Printing Blog

Advantages and Disadvantages of Offset Printing

Offset printing is not anything like the direct printing methods most of us have become accustomed to. Direct printing takes the image or text directly from the computer or electronic source to the printer. In offset printing, the computer makes the image on a plate and then that plate is used to print onto multiple pieces of paper.

Offset printing is usually used for high-volume printing such as with magazines, books, newspapers, brochures, and stationery. While it does add some steps in the process, for massive orders, it makes financial sense for several reasons.

The ink, which fades and then runs out in direct printing methods, is actually controllable with offset printing. The operator can twist some screw keys to adjust the amount of ink flow on the fountain roller. This minimizes the creation of wasted prints with insufficient contrast. The printing plates themselves are easy and fast to make with today’s technology. And the plates each have the potential to run a million impressions or more.

It costs less to produce high quality printing when it is done with offset printing methods. Additionally, the image quality is consistently good as the rubber blanket, on the printing plate, fits itself to the texture of the printing surface, leaving a clean and detailed image every time.

The disadvantages are fewer, but they include the tediousness and cost associated with the production of the printing plates and setup. Also, the printing quality, while high, is not quite as good as photogravure or rotogravure printing. Finally, the printing plates are made of anodized aluminum, making them vulnerable to chemical oxidation, so they need some extra care and maintenance. But all in all, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages with offset printing, at least when it comes to high-volume printing jobs.

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