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5 Major Types of Printing

Distinguishing between the various types of printing methods and understanding the technicalities behind them can get a little too complicated. So, let us simplify it for you! Here are 5 common printing methods used nowadays that cover all your printing needs.

Digital Printing

Digital printing involves reproducing a digital image on print format. It requires the use of a physical surface like film, paper, plastic, cloth, or photographic paper. Large format ink jet printers or high volume laser printers work best when you want to print a large format file. The ink or solvent does not fully absorb in digital print; instead, it sits on the surface of the print material.

Offset Printing

Offset printing is a mode of printing that requires the use of plates. These plates are usually made of aluminum. In this method, the inked text or image is passed on from the plate to a rubber mantle, and then it is rolled on to the piece of paper.

The word offset signifies that the image will not directly be transferred onto the medium from the beginning. This type of printing method is most suitable for printing newspapers.

The benefits of offset printing include the creation of sharper, vivid images and typeface as the rubber blanket or mantle complements the texture of the printing material surface. Offset printing is also commonly branded as Planographic or Lithographic printing – this is entirely dependent on the print method used.

Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing involves the direct impression of the ink media such as printing plates on top of an open surface. Letterpress printing is basically printing the text with a movable typeface.  The elevated surface of the typeface is inked and then hard-pressed against an open surface to attain a reverse printed image.

Screen Printing

Screen printing, also known as serigraphy or silk-screening, is used to create finely-edged images via the usage of stencils. The screen is made of a delicately woven fabric, which is stretched over an aluminum casing. A stencil is employed to block the text or images that require printing. Screen printing is often associated with making garments.

Graphic screen printing is often employed to produce large lots of graphics such as display signs or posters. You can also produce full-color prints using screen printing. It is a versatile form of printing; you can use it to print images on a variety of materials – DVDs, CDs, glass, ceramics, paper, wooden items, t-shirts, and metal. If you want your printed material to have vibrant colors that pop, then screen printing is the way to go.


Remember the time when letterpress was the printing method? Well, flexography is commonly referred to as its contemporary version. It is also known as Flexo since it was originally employed to print onto ribbed cardboard.

This type of printing is mostly used for wrapping and packaging. First, a 3D relief— made of polymer— is created of the master copy of the print image. This is then used for flexo printing, which involves using a printing cylinder or an anilox roll and placing the ink onto the printing plate.

We hope this article helps you distinguish between various types of printing methods and their applications.

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