At Minuteman Press, Poole we offer both Traditional Lithographic Printing and Digital Printing and can advise you of the best option for your job - in terms of process suitability and cost.
Lithographic printing is a traditional printing method that was first invented in 1796, although obviously the process has changed dramatically since then!
Lithography uses a simple chemical process to create an image whereby the positive part of an image is a water-repelling substance, whilst the negative image is water-retaining. Therefore, when the plate is rolled over a compatible printing ink and water mixture, the ink sticks to the positive image and water cleans the negative image.
These days it is still a printing method which utilises a plating system - and a separate plate is required for each different image. Today, most high volume items such as books, magazines, posters, maps, newspapers and packaging etc, especially when illustrated in colour, - or just about all smooth, mass produced items with print and graphics on them - are printed with offset lithography.
Many innovations and technical refinements have been made in printing processes and presses over the years, including the development of presses with multiple units (each containing one printing plate) that can print multi colour images in one pass on both sides of the sheet, and presses that accommodate continuous rolls (webs) of paper, known as web presses.
Traditional Lithographic / Offset Printing still produces the majority of longer run jobs, as although the set up charges are greater than digital printing, these costs are outweighed by the higher per page costs of digital printing. However, with the continual advances in digital printing, more and more jobs are becoming cost effective on a digital process.