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The different printing methods

By Steffen Andersen · 15. May 2020

Knowing what is up and down when it comes to printing methods is often really difficult.

Especially when it comes to knowing which printing methods make sense to use in different scenarios.

I will briefly go through the different techniques and methods here and give you some links where you can read more about the process and the benefits of the process.

So let’s dig in. 

Offset printing

Offset printing is the most common printing method when it comes to printing on paper packaging and higher quantity paper products.

The offset printing process works via printing plates made of aluminum with the graphics, and then a rubber roller transfers the graphics on to the printed object.

The process is very adaptive and can be used with both CMYK and Pantone colours, it is mostly used with CMYK colours.

Since the printing process uses printing plates and the printing plates are made from aluminum, the process is often used for printing high quantities.

If you want to know more about the offset printing process, then we have an article that goes into depth with the whole process, read it here

Digital Printing

Digital printing is the most used printing process in general since all printers at the home and at offices use digital print.

The reason why the process is so commonly spread is that the process does not use printing plates, and it can make small quantity prints in no time.

So if you need to get printed a document or a family picture, the printing process is perfect.

The problem with the method is that it is rather slow and therefore not great for printing high quantities, and normally printing agencies would use offset printing for larger quantities.

Digital printing can only print on paper and does only use CMYK colours. Are you interested in more information about digital printing?

Then see our article about the step by step process of digital printing

Tampon printing

Tampon printing is also called pad printing and the process is especially used for printing on more convex surfaces such as plastic, metal, and other more rigid materials.

We work with a couple of manufacturers who use it for printing plastic packaging.

The process of making the printing plates for tampon print is really effective and is rather cheap, why the process is often used for printing in smaller quantities.

So if you get plastic cups or other promotional articles in smaller quantities, there is a high risk they are made with Tampon printing.

The tampon printing process is not good for using multiple colours in the print, why it can only use Pantone colours.

Read more about how the whole process works in our article about tampon printing

Flexographic Printing

Flexographic printing and tampon printing is a lot alike when it comes to printing on more convex surfaces.

The main difference is though that flexo print is used for large quantity printing the printing method is also rather adjustable for all surfaces.

The printing plates for flexo print is very durable and can often be reused for many times, they are though rather expensive to make.

We work with a couple of manufacturers who use flexographic printing for printing on larger quantities on products like sandwich paper, paper straws, and plastic cups.

But if you would like to know more about flexo print, then we have made an article that describes the whole process of it. 

Letterpress printing

Letterpress is the oldest printing method and it was founded to get an easier way to copy documents, than doing it by hand.

The methods still run on the same basics of making a printing plate with the graphics on, and the printing plate is then pressed directly onto the paper.

This is also the reason why the print is debossed (meaning the graphics are pressed into the paper), it gives a really authentic print.

Letterpress printing is a rather manual and ineffective printing method, and is normally only used for printing rather special cards and is not large quantities.

But it is also rather common for people who has a large interest in printing methods, to have a small letterpress printing machine a home.

Learn the step by step process of letterpress printing right here. 

Rotogravure printing

Rotogravure print is a printing method that is only used for high quantity printing, and it is primarily used for printing paper products, it can also be used for printing on textile products.

The printing method has some rather high set-up cost since the printing plates are made as cylinders, but they are very durable and they can be used for many million runs.

The printing method uses Pantone colours🎨 since the printing cylinder is placed directly in the ink.

If you want a deeper understanding of the rotogravure process then, you can read our article about the process. 

Content and Marketing Manager at Limepack

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