PRINT FAQ – What is Offset Printing?

Minuteman Press of Kent

I’ve heard the term offset printing, but I’m not sure exactly what that means, or why it is important. Can you help?

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The most important thing to know about offset printing is that it is most appropriate for larger runs of printed material, (e.g., quantities of 500 and up, per design). Far from being extinct, over 90% of printed material worldwide is printed offset. However, the process of printing offset is involved and time-consuming, thus most of the cost is in the set-up. If you are doing smaller quantities (e.g., under 500 per design), usually digital printing is more economical.

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“Offset” in printing terms refers to the process of printing by creating plates and then having the plates offset to the rubber blanket, which then applies the ink to the paper. Plates are typically metal or polyester, though they can be made of paper or plastic. At our…

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