If you are unfamiliar with the printing process you can quickly find yourself scratching your head in confusion. There are a number of ways to print, so selecting the right one can be difficult unless you understand each one. Here is a simple list of the different types of printing and the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Offset printing is one of the least expensive forms of printing and is designed to print large quantities very quickly. Offset printing uses a play and the image of what you want printed is pressed or stamped into the paper. The process is typically set up on rollers where paper is feed into the machine and the ink sticks to the areas of the paper with text and design on the plate. The plates must be cooled with water during their process to prevent them from getting too hot and causing a fire. The drawback of this printing method is that once the plate has been finalized then changes cannot be made unless a brand new plate is made.
This method is the most technologically advanced and can be altered as much as you need throughout the process. The prints are controlled by a computer and you can run test prints one at a time and adjust contrast and color of each print. One of the drawbacks to this method is that what you see on a computer screen could be slightly different than the colors the machine produces depending on the screen settings of your monitor. The quality of print is also completely subject to the image resolution or dots per inch of the image that you are working with. If you have a low quality image then prints will most likely look blurry in the finished product. For this type of printing the cost per printed item is usually dependent on the number of prints that are being made. The more prints you make, the cheaper each print is.
A photocopy is a mirror image of a document or picture that is made with a photocopy machine. Photocopying is extremely effective for small quantity printing, but is limited in terms of quality. Sometimes photocopying can leave black residue on the finished product and can easily blur the image of something being photocopied. The image is also subject to the clarity of the glass of the photocopy machine, and any dust or dirt particles on the glass will appear in the final product.
If you have questions about what type of printing will best suit your needs then you should call a local printing service and speak one on one with a printing professional (such as Nite Owl Printing). They will be able to speak to you about cost and quantity of what you need printed to ensure you get the best possible price.