Typs of Different Printing Methods

What Are Different Printing Methods?

  • Offset Lithography.
  • Flexography.
  • Digital Printing.
  • Large Format.
  • Screen Printing.
  • 3D Printing.
  • LED UV.

Offset Lithography

Often used for:

  • Rough-surfaced media e.g. wood, canvas and cloth
  • Versatile method so can also be used for books, paper, stationery and more

Also known as offset printing or litho, offset lithography is a popular method to mass produce printed items. This method involves printing plates,  which each hold an imageor images of the content that is being printed.

These plates are then transferred onto press rollers or rubber blankets before going onto the print media. The print media doesn't come into contact with the metal plates, which extends the life of the plates. The flexible material of the rollers means offset lithography can be used on any media with rough surfaces. 

Offset lithography is used to produce consistently high quality images and can be used for small or high volume print jobs. It's also a versatile choice as it can print on any flat surface, regardless of whether it's smooth like paper or rough like canvas. 

Flexography

Often used for:

  • Packaging and labels
  • Items with continuous patterns (wallpaper etc.) 

Flexographic printing is commonly used for printing on uneven surfaces. This style of printing uses quick-drying, semi-liquid inks and can be used for high volume jobs.

Flexible photopolymer printing plates wrapped around rotating cylinders on a web press are used. These inked plates have a slightly raised image of the content on them and are rotated at high speeds to transfer the image onto the print media.  Flexography is a popular choice for its high press speeds, suitability for long runs and ability to print on a huge range of media including plastic, cellophane and metallic film. 

Digital Printing

Often used for:

  • Posters and signs
  • Labels, newsletters, menus and fliers

Digital printing is a modern method that covers a variety of different techniques including inkjet printing and laser. In digital printing, images are sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDFs. This eliminates the need for a printing plate, which is used in other types of printing such as lithography, and can save time and money (unless you're printing in larger numbers).

Digital printing allows for quick turnaround and allows businesses to print on demand. It's also great for small run jobs - requests can be made for as little as one print. If you choose digital printing for the right job, it can make for a cost-effective method that still produces high quality prints similar to that of the other, bigger-scale options. 

Large Format

Often used for:

  • Large signage (billboards, posters, vinyl banners)
  • Wallpaper and murals
  • Floor graphics
  • Laminating

As the name might suggest, large format printing exists to produce maximum print roll width. Perfect for traditional advertising mediums and businesses who are looking to make a huge impact on their customers, this printing method gifts you with a much bigger area to work on, as opposed to the other methods such as digital printing.

Rather than printing onto individual sheets, large format printing uses rolls of prints that are fed incrementally to produce one large sheet. 

For large print media such as building wraps, billboards, banners and murals, large format printing is the best option. The other printing methods will not be able to produce as large a material. Most businesses choose large format media to produce flat items which can be hung on a wall, but they can also be folded or made to stand freely. 

Screen Printing

Often used for:

  • Printing logos and graphics onto clothes
  • Fabric banners
  • Posters

Screen printing is a printing technique where fine material or mesh is used to transfer an image onto another material. The mesh is stretched out so it creates a screen and ink is pressed against it in order to successfully print the image. Popularly used to print graphics onto clothes and other pieces of fabric, screen printing can also be used for paper and metal. 

There's a lot of setting up required with screen printing, so it's best used for printing repeat items in bulk. It's not very cost-effective for small number orders. But if you need a lot of the same image, it's a highly cost-effective method of printing. 

3D Printing

Often used for:

  • Promotion and marketing freebies
  • Novelty items
  • Display items
  • Toy figurines

3D printers have continued to get more and more sophisticated. Today, even items with interior moving parts can be printed. After the details have been worked out on a computer programme such as CAD, miniscule layers are printed on top of each other using a special plastic substance. 

LED UV

Often used for:

  • Newsletters, posters and leaflets
  • Magazines, catalogues, brochures and prospectuses
  • Stationery

LED UV printing is a popular method among businesses due to its extremely high quality prints and quick turnaround times.

It's a form of digital printing that uses UV (ultraviolet) lights to dry the ink as it's being printed. 

You no longer have to wait for the ink to dry, which saves time and the colours come out looking much sharper and clearer. 

LED UV is eco-friendly as it uses less power than traditional print machines and unlike many of the other methods, it's not limited to the type of stock (printing materials) or to certain print jobs.

Its versatility means it's ideal for a wide range of projects including brochures, catalogues, prospectuses and posters. Because of its ability to instantly dry ink and produce bright, vivid colours, it can turn an ordinary product into a luxury, high quality product that is attention grabbing.

 

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