A Buyers Guide to Printing Services

When choosing the right printing services for your company, you will find there are a lot more factors to consider than originally thought. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, image plays a very important role in the way people receive your product. When you decide to search for a print service provider, it will more than likely be for material that will be seen by the public and more importantly by potential clients. It is therefore very important that the way in which people receive the printed material be of the highest possible quality, not only regarding the corporate design and imagery, but also the physical elements, such as paper and print quality, layout and the physical form in which it is received, e.g. flyer, business card or pamphlet.

There are various different formats for printed material and these require different printing techniques. These range between continuous-form materials such as invoices and purchase orders, and made to order products such as books, newsletters, business cards or flyers. Many print suppliers might specialize in a specific field, and it is therefore necessary to properly gauge which printer will be best suited to your needs, providing the best quality at the lowest price. It is important to build up a relationship with your printers, and be able to check their references. A good service representative will be able to manage the process smoothly and make recommendations where paper sizes and ink types are concerned. Although it might seem convenient, the idea that you have to be loyal to only one print supplier could lead to you having to pay more or settle for lower quality on a certain product. Some printers will accept projects they are not equipped to do, only to outsource them to a third party.

In order to fully understand what it is that you should look for when outsourcing your print requirements, it is necessary to understand what products are best suited to which projects, and ways in which savings can be made without compromising the quality of the print. Printers will incorporate different methods for different tasks. Some of the most popular methods used today are offset lithography, rotogravure printing and flexography or screen printing.

Modern high volume lithography is used to print such items as posters, books, newspapers, credit cards or decorated compact discs. In this form of printing, flexible sheets of aluminium or plastic are used as printing plates. They have a brushed or roughened texture and are covered with a photosensitive emulsion. From here the plate is affixed to a drum on a printing press and transferred to paper. The advent of desktop publishing has made it much easier for images and type to be prepared for eventual printing. The development of digital platesetters has eliminated tedious intermediate steps in the process, allowing printing plates to be created directly from digital input known as ‘computer to plate’ printing.

Rotogravure, or gravure printing, is a type of engraving process where the image is engraved on a copper cylinder in a rotary printing press. The vast majority of gravure printing is done on reels rather than sheets of paper. Gravure presses are the fastest and widest presses in operation, printing everything from narrow labels to 12-feet-wide rolls of vinyl flooring. Because gravure is capable of transferring more ink to the paper than other printing processes, it is noted for its remarkable density range and hence is a process of choice for fine art and photography lam ao dong phuc reproduction. Other application areas of gravure printing include long-run magazine printing in excess of 1 million copies, mail order catalogues and flexible consumer packaging.

Flexography is a method of printing most commonly used for packaging. A flexo print is achieved by creating a mirrored image as a 3D relief on a rubber or polymer material. It is so called because it was originally used as a method of printing on to corrugated cardboard, which has a very uneven surface. The print surface then rotates, contacting the print material which transfers the ink. Originally flexo printing was very low quality, but in the last few decades, advances such as photographic exposure, chemical treatment and laser engraving have drastically improved print quality, making full colour flexographic printing possible. Some flexographic advantages are that it can use a very wide range of inks, and is good for printing on a variety of different materials. Flexo inks are also generally low in viscosity. This allows for quicker drying and as a result, increased production output.


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