What Are The Different Types Of Printing - A Basic Guide to Printing for Graphic Designers

different types of commercial printing for graphic designers

What Are The Different Types Of Printing?

Not all printing companies are created equal. There are those that are able to give you full color printing for your marketing collaterals. Still there are printing houses that offer excellent offset printing to provide you a cost effective print job, hence, bigger savings.

Whatever kind of printer you need to accomplish the job you require, you also have to learn to distinguish the differences among the printing techniques. This is so you could discuss with your printer the most suitable method for your marketing campaign.

Here are the different types of printing that you may want to get acquainted with before you go to a printing company for your print job:

Offset Lithography

Offset Lithography printing process

The most common printing method in the industry, most printers use offset lithography to save on ink and limit set up time. Hence, you are able to avail of a more affordable and cost effective print job for your color printing requirements. What printers usually do is to offset the ink (thus, the name) from metal plates to a rubber cylinder and then transfer it onto the paper stock.

Digital Printing

Digital Printing Process for Commercial Printers

It is probably the most popular printing method since its introduction. Digital printing is very effective since it reduces the time to complete the printing process. It doesn’t need films and plates anymore. What it does is to transfer the digital file directly to the printing press with the help of a computer. It’s relatively fast that customers often rely on digital printing to meet deadlines and schedules.


Letterpress Commercial printing process

Created by Gutenberg, the Letterpress is considered as one of the first and original printing methods of all time. The letterpress gave birth to the concept of relief printing, where the image being printed is raised from the surface. However, the method is slowly going obsolete with the new and much faster methods being introduced in the market today.

Electrostatic Printing

Electrostatic Printing Process

Similar to photocopying, this method lets the color attach to a drum and is blended with the paper with the application of heat. It is similar to digital printing as it also provides cost effective production of short print runs.


Thermography Printing Process

This method produces raised image that you see mostly in stationeries. What the printer does is to use a special powder or dust that easily sticks to wet ink. Then they apply heat to blend the ink and the powder to form the raised image.

These are still more types of printing methods. The bottom line is to know what would be the most suitable to your needs. We hope that the next time you hire a commercial printer for your marketing collateral you are able to discuss clearly what kind of printing method you require to achieve the results you imagined.

For more information, you can visit this page on http://www.justprint.com

[tags]printing processes, commercial printing processes, types of commercial printing, which printing process is best, graphic design, design and commercial printers, graphic design and printing, choosing a commercial printer, lithography, offset lithography, theromography, letterpress, electrostatic, electrostatic printing, printing process[/tags]

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  1. TEastman
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    This is a decent article with useful information. You did a good job of describing the differences between the technologies. But at the top of the article you say, “…to provide you a cost effective print job, hence, bigger savings.” Unfortunately, the article itself doesn’t provide a relative cost comparison between the different technologies. That information would have been very helpful.

  2. admin
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi T Eastman, I see what you mean. I will ask the author if he can write a 2nd part to the article regarding the pricing. Thanks for the comment.


  3. Posted May 6, 2008 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Very comprehensive article. You have covered the information and highlighted the differences well. I tried to find the followup post with the price differential. Could you post a link to it in this page, if the post has been put up, for everyone’s convenience.

  4. Kehul
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Hi, When I looked at your article, I found out that how the printing is done and I am so Impressed as well as I have got the knowledge on the printing.

  5. Sanket
    Posted May 18, 2008 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Excellent article…
    i have ben visiting this site from some days…
    n every time i am getting really nice information…..
    i really thank u all people there who made such kind of knowledge available at no cost.!
    Wish u great luck ahead !

  6. Kay Lawrence
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I found the information very good. But I have a question. When preparing graphics for printing, should the mode of the graphic be changed according to the printing method. For instance, would one use CMYK for offset lithography, but RGB for digital printing? I’d be gratified for a reply if anyone knows, because I have to get a school yearbook printed from PageMaker and this is my first time doing this.

    Thanks KL

  7. Posted June 3, 2008 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    i saw your web site super and very good keep it up

  8. Posted July 18, 2008 at 1:47 am | Permalink


    Good work. I think this is very useful post for new users.

    It is nice post.

  9. Aliya
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This was a very interesting post - I found it very educational as I’m not familiar with the backgrounds of some of those types of printing. I feel inspired to do more research into the different types. I would definitely appreciate a further article about pricing. I was also wondering if you have any tips about finding printing solutions. I’ve been trying to find a printing solution that will work for me as well as my clients. I’ve come across Digital Lizard (http://www.digitallizard.com/graphic-designer.php) that provides a portal for your clients to order printing from. Do you know much about these types of services?

  10. Posted May 29, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink


    I’ve spent 10 years writing weekly ecolumns about printing, specifically to help end users (designers anda print production pros) understand how to work with printers more effectively.

    I have many columns describing the differences between printing processes, which cover more ground than this one.

    If you’re interested, visit my site and search on Margie’s Print Tips to see samples. http://www.printbuyersinternational.com.

  11. Sue
    Posted June 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Keep in mind… there are different types of offset printing. Web offset has different specs than sheetfed offset. Also, the specs for newsprint paper as opposed to glossy stock is VERY different. Typically, a job set up for glossy, sheetfed and sent to a web offset printer will print looking dark and muddy. You must make sure your total ink coverage and dot gain are set up correctly. If you have questions… ask your printer! Not all printers have the same specs!

  12. All Graphic Design Staff
    Posted April 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    the style which is mention above is very unique, customer can get more advantage by taking this tips

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  2. [...] What Are The Different Types Of Printing : A Basic Guide to Printing for Graphic Designers - Whatever kind of printer you need to accomplish the job you require, you also have to learn to distinguish the differences among the printing techniques. This is so you could discuss with your printer the most suitable method for your marketing campaign. [...]

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