The Technical, Explained

There are fewer differences today in the quality of digital printing and offset printing, but the technical differences between the two are quite remarkable. There is also a cost difference; although, that, too, is becoming less of an issue as technology continues to evolve.

First, The First Technique: Offset Printing

The offset press uses a system of plates that contain what are called “color separations”, each of which uses a specific, primary color. The combination of all the colors provides the image. The primary colors used are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Black is added for, obviously, shades of gray, but it is also used to regulate contrast.

The setup involved in an offset press means that the larger the run, the lower the cost of each printed piece.

At one time, the plates were made from film separations, each containing a negative of the color separation. By the late 1990’s, a process had been developed to allow the color-separation plates to be created, directly, from a digital file.

Color separations for offset press

Second, The Newer Technique: Lasers

Digital printing uses a combination of lasers,…

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