Offset Printing

What is offset Printing? How does it work?

Table of Contents

Offset printing is the foremost and most widely used printing technique.

“It involves transferring an inked image from a metal plate to a rubber blanket. After that, the printing work starts, and designs are imprinted on the pages, objects, or surfaces.”

Usually, the print comes out when we think about getting images just by pressing one click on the “PRINT” button. It is a challenging task involving multiple steps to get the outcome. This process originated and is associated with lithography, which evolved in 1796 and was used for theatrical printing works. 

With innovation by the 18th century, new or modern Offset Printing operates on direct facts of repulsion in oil and water and their usage of getting prints. 

The material used in Offset Printing

The component materials that are used in offset litho are usually flexible, thin, and sustainable with large sizes to get proper and measured prints. There are basically a few materials:

  • Metal Plates: These plates are manually made up of aluminium sheets, but some have paper and plastic–poly material plates.
  • Polyester Plates: These are cost-effective and helpful for small formats as their dimensional quality is preferably low. 

Role Of Offset Printing In Packaging

Offset Printing In Packaging

As discussed earlier, offset manufacturing prints are typically used to get impressions on paper. In today’s time, brands and companies are more indulged in fulfilling people’s packaging demands. The road to wrapping products, from food boxes to pharmaceutical packaging, takes a lot of work. But here the question is, what role does offset printing play? 

It is clear that besides quality, the outer beauty of commodities attracts people more towards them. Printing is the process that gives Custom Boxes a more appealing look.

1- Rigid Boxes specifically require luxurious packages for premier products to make them catchy and exclusive. 

2- Corrugated Boxes are specified for bulk packaging; these boxes have thick and fluted walls. Printed labels, tags, and logos with Company colours can give them a presentational look.

3- Kraft Boxes and Cardboards: Thin layered paper boxes, whether bleached (white) or unbleached (natural), use offset printing presses by packaging companies to get the desirable designs. You can check our boxes by industry.

Types of Offset Printing

Today, Off Printing is recognized as a versatile and preferred technique of pasting designs onto different kinds of papers, custom packaging boxes, metallic or plastic sheets, and many more. 

Based on mediums, there are two types of Offset Lithography:

  • Wet offset:

This type uses water or wetting liquids and other dampening solutions to control ink quantity, adhesion power, and protection to non-image areas. It is an old technique 

  • Waterless Offset:

In this type, liquids are not used; instead, ink-repellent silicon is used to protect non-image areas. This is a new invention in this field around the 1930s. 

How Does The Printing Press Work?

Printing Press Work

Offset Printing is also known as Offset Lithography. This technique is widely used because of its cost-effective nature and friendly-usable qualities. The working process of offset printers involves the following steps:

1- Plate Preparation:

In the offset printing process, the plates are first prepared according to the designs and surfaces, and an image is transferred onto the plate using special photosensitive chemicals. In this, the selective areas attract the ink and raise it, while the flat part has a mechanism of repelling ink.

2- Ink Application:

After preparing the plates, ink is applied to them on image areas. The inks are water liquids, so they resist the non-image regions because of their hydrophilic properties. 

3- Image Transfer:

The inked images get pasted and shifted to a rubber blanket. It is one of the most crucial parts of the offset printing procedure because it allows the machine to apply consistent and smooth ink on the printing surface. If this application is not done correctly, the surface will get ruined.

4- Printed Surface:

The surface for lithography offset printing is always appropriately prepared first so the ink can get absorbed on the surface smoothly. This ensures that the ending results will be high-quality, with vibrant colours, sharp-edged, and detailed layers. Because whatever the printing process you follow. What matters? Of course, the Final Print. 

Advantages Of Offset Printing 

The advantages are the following:

  • High Image Quality:

It ensures high-quality image printing with very sharp edges and perfect images according to designs. 

  • Quick process:

The printing plates in this method are very competent at giving an impression in just a few seconds – a quick and fast way of getting imprints.

  • Durable Mechanism:

There is no direct contact between the surface and the plates in it. The designed plates are already developed with optimized quantities of inks, patterns, and adhesives. These quality things make the printing machines long-lasting and give thousands of impressions with perfection.

  • Cost-effective:

The cheapest and budget-friendly way of producing prints with the finest quality. Commercially, offset lithography falls in the best printing technique categories – achieve more results but at reasonable prices.

  • Controllable Procedure:

There is nothing in the offset lithography printing process that is not controllable. For ink support and control, metal blades transfer the fixed amount through ducts to the rollers.  

Moreover, the gap between the blade and roller is adjustable by using screws that correspondingly decrease or increase the transfer of inks to rollers. In modern machines, everything is controlled with electronic parts, so there is no need to check every step manually.

Difference Between Offset and Digital Printing

PropertiesOffset Digital
For Small runs NOYES
For Long runsYESNO
Colour MatchingMORELESS
Diversity of Printing SurfacesMORELESS
Easy ProofingNOYES
Quick Turnaround NOYES
Single Unit CustomizationNOYES


From the above discussion, it is clear that Offset Printing is the most recommended method of getting good-quality prints. In this modern time, everyone prefers to have printed media to save time and money. Therefore, all businesspersons, whether big or beginner, getting your products packed and advertised and having a reputed status in the market by using the technique will serve you excellently and prolong your success.


About Stephen Fowler

About Stephen Fowler

Meet Stephen, our skilled writer at IBEX. With a degree in Packaging Sciences, Stephen brings expertise in simplifying every industry detail more efficiently. His years of experience in R&D and technical expertise have always been helpful for our audience. The best part about Stephen is that he has always provided consistent and valuable insights into the packaging industry, ensuring that our reader is always up to date with the latest practices.

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