THE PRINTING
INDUSTRY
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Production

The world of print is bigger than you think. Print surrounds us and we use it every day. It decorates and shapes the world we live in. Print is posters, signs, textiles, home decoration, brochures, labels, newsletters, leaflets, cards, photographs, packaging, newspapers, magazines, books, and much more!
Discover the different printing techniques used to create these products.

BOOKS
Offset printing
Digital printing
MAGAZINES
Offset printing
(Roto)gravure printing
NEWSPAPERS
Offset printing
Flexographic printing
BROCHURES, CATALOGUES, DIRECTORIES
Digital printing
Offset printing
(Roto)gravure printing
DIRECT MAIL
Digital printing
SECURITY PRINTING
Offset printing
(Roto)gravure printing
Screen Printing
PACKAGING, LABELS, ENVELOPES
Flexographic printing
(Roto)gravure printing
Offset printing
Digital printing
3D PRINTING
3D Printer
COMICS
Offset printing
Digital printing
FUNCTIONAL PRINTING
Screen Printing
Inkjet
Flexographic Printing
(Roto)gravure Printing
PHOTOBOOKS AND ILLUSTRATED BOOKS
Offset printing
Digital printing
FURNITURE/HOME DÉCOR LIKE WALLPAPER/FLOORING/LAMPSHADE
Digital printing
BANNERS, POSTERS, SIGNAGE,
OUTDOOR ADVERTISING
Large format printing
Screen printing
BOARD GAMES
Offset printing
Digital printing
Flexographic printing
TEXTILES AND OTHER SUBSTRATES
Screen printing
CUSTOMISED PRODUCTS
Digital printing

Printing techniques

Offset printing

Offset printers transfer (“offset”) an inked image from a plate onto a rubber blanket, which is then transferred onto the printing surface. Offset printers can be sheet-fed or web-fed. Web-fed printers can be heatset or coldset. Offset is often used to produce large volumes of high quality prints.

(Roto)gravure printing

Gravure printing is a type of intaglio printing process, which involves engraving the image to be printed onto a cylinder. Cylinders are usually made from copper-plated steel which is then chrome-plated after being engraved. Each colour is printed separately and must dry before another is added.

Large format printing

Large format printers print products which are too large for most other printing presses. Sizes vary and large format printers use a variety of different technologies to print on various substrates, rather than individual sheets. 

Digital printing

Digital printing Digital printing refers to large format and/or high volume laser or inkjet printers which print orders from a digital source (e.g. a personalised photo book which a customer has designed themselves online). Digital printing is often used to fulfil orders of a smaller volume, on-demand or including personalisation.

Flexographic printing 

Flexo printers use a flexible relief plate to print on a wide variety of substrates (including those which are non-porous like plastic). A different plate must be made for every colour used. Flexo printing is often used for food packaging.

Screen printing

Screen printers transfer ink onto a substrate (textiles, ceramics, wood, paper, glass, metal or plastic, for example) using a mesh. Certain areas are made impermeable using a blocking stencil. Different colours are printed one at a time.

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Production step-by-step

Production involves various stages.
 

1 | Prepress

1. Web-to-print
2. Cross media Printjob
3. Database
4. Graphic design
5. DTP
6. Computer to plate (Offset process)
Cylinder engraving (Rotogravure process)
Computer to plate (Flexo printing)
Computer to screen (Screen printing)

2 | Press

1. Nonimpact printing (Digital)
Offset printing
Gravure printing
Flexo printing
Inkjet printing (Large-format)
Screen printing
2. Laminate

3 | Finishing

Emboss/deboss (Digital and offset)
Cutting (Digital and offset)
Die-cutting (Gravure and flexo)
Folding (Digital and offset)
Folding/stick (Gravure and flexo)
Collating (Digital and offset)
Cover (Digital and offset)
Binding (Digital and offset)
Insert (Digital and offset)

4 | Logistic

Transport