There are nine main types of printing processes:

  • offset lithography
  • engraving
  • thermography
  • reprographics
  • digital printing
  • letterpress
  • screen
  • flexography
  • gravure

Offset lithography is the workhorse of printing. Almost every commercial printer does it. But the quality of the final product is often due to the guidance, expertise and equipment provided by the Sprint Print.

Offset lithography works on a very simple principle: ink and water don’t mix. Images (words and art) are put on plates, which are dampened first by water, then ink. The ink adheres to the image area, the water to the non-image area. Then the image is transferred to a rubber blanket, and from the rubber blanket to paper. That’s why the process is called “offset” — the image does not go directly to the paper from the plates, as it does in gravure printing.

Unlike offset or letterpress where printing plates are involved, digitally printed invitations are printed directly from a digital file on a computer.  Digital printers transfer four colors of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to paper simultaneously, producing a full-color print after only one pass through the printer – meaning that each invitation takes less time to print and is less expensive to produce than other printing methods.  Unlike letterpress, which leaves a relief impression, and engraving, which produces raised text, digital printing produces a flat image without any texture.

Digital printing is the most commonly used printing method because it’s fast and inexpensive.  Since printing plates aren’t required, it’s a cost effective way to print a low number of pieces, and you aren’t limited to the number of colors you can use in one piece.  That means it’s a great way to reproduce scanned imagery.