Offset Printing - What does it mean?

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The term offset printing or offset lithography is one of the most common methods of commercial printing today. The image to be printed is put on a plate (most commonly an aluminum plate) which is mounted to a cylinder on the printing press. The image is then transferred (or offset) to a blanket cylinder first (a hard rubber cylinder), and then the blanket cylinder transfers (or offsets) the image to the sheet of paper that is being printed.

In other processes of printing, the image is normally transfered directly from the carrier, which can be a relief plate, cylinder, die, etc. to the substrate being printed.

The fact that the image is offset first to a blanket and then to the substrate is the unique factor that defines offset printing.

Written by Jay Atkinson
He can be reached at
The Odee Company, Dallas, Texas