Very seldom do we think about the
process needed to create that colorful magazine or fascinating brochure
we routinely read.
Perhaps the reason I think about it is because I
enjoy writing. To create a magazine, brochure, catalog, or any printed
material requires a creative process. It is a group effort of writers
and designers working together, which are then followed by printers,
whose responsibility is to transform the creative designs of the writers
and designers into works of art. Letterpress and screen-printing are
only a few ways that ink is put into paper, yet offset printing is
perhaps the most widely used processes by most print shops.
The process of offset involves the transferring of ink from an
impression cylinder to the printed sheet. Years ago, lithographers used
engraved images on flat stones. Today, instead of stones, images are
transferred from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and finally to the
paper. The principle is based on the simple fact that water and ink do
not mix. The printing plate is covered with an ink receptive coating,
then dampened by water rollers followed by ink rollers. The ink adheres
on the imaged area only, while the water adheres to the non-image area.
The image is then transferred to the blanket. The paper passes between
the blanket and the cylinder, transferring the image to the paper.
When working in four-color process, offset printing is very good,
especially if the job is fairly detailed with a lot of color or tonal
ranges. Modern printing has increased significantly in quality and
quantity because of offset printing.
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