Different forms of Printing.

With many things to consider when making a magazine the ultimate goal is preparing yourself for actually printing it off in the end. For me this wasn’t something I had truly thought about until a bit later. With the main objective of creating this magazine first and worry about it later was my original idea. It wasn’t until we took a trip to Picton Press in Perth that I started to truly understand the importance of printing. To have knowledge of how different mediums and projects are printed will be something that I can take with me for the rest of my career in design.

So, there’s only one way to print something, right? Wrong, there are several methods to print your project, this include:

  • Letterpress, this was one of the first methods and is basically a big stamp to place on paper or other material. This process took a long time to do as each page had to be setup by hand, through placing these metal letters in the stamp.

  • Offset Lithography, one of the most common methods used today. Using metal and polyester sheets called plates. Images are burned into the plate using light to expose image areas. This is then placed onto a cylinder that goes around on the press and picks up water on the non-image areas, since water and oil don’t mix. When the ink comes in contact with the plate, the ink from a rubber mate only sticks to the oiled areas. This is generally used for mass printing projects, and can cost up $200 AUD for plates. This is something we saw at Picton press, and was an amazing machine.

  • Flexography, is generally best t print labels, or on bottles, plastic or cellophane. It is traditionally used for the packaging industry and doesn’t really relate to my magazine project.

  • Gravure, this is used for mass production of magazines. This doesn’t require a plate, and actually has tiny etched grooves in the cylinder that places the images onto the paper. As I will only be making a handful of magazines, this won’t be necessary.

  • Screen Printing, this is an area of printing that I have understood for a while now, as I have ordered t shirts and seen videos of people doing this many times before. This method is often used for materials over than paper. Some of the products this is used for is, letters on plastic, t-shirt and other clothing material, signs and many more. The idea of this is a material such silk or nylon is stretched across a frame and set in place. A stencil is made either by hand or electronically and is black over the area to create a non-printing area. The ink is then spread out across the frame which then transfers it to the material below.

  • Digital Printing, now this is the most common, from many people having an inkjet printer in their homes. There is many over ways such as laser and toner also. This is most likely what we will be using for our magazines, but will be using a toner printer that is CMYK powder that is then released onto the paper and heat keeps it the colors down to the page.

After knowing the different forms of printing this made coming up with making the magazine itself easier, to know what colors to use and how they will be getting viewed. Originally, I asked for gloss paper to go with the printing as this would make the colors pop more on the paper, with issues at the printer we all got matte, which was still nice but not as vibrant as I had hoped for.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my quick look into the world of printing and can take this information on for yourself in the future to understand what you’re going to need for your project.


Communications, H. (2017). Methods of Printing. Hignell.mb.ca. Retrieved 18 December 2017, from http://www.hignell.mb.ca/printingclarified/printing101/methods-of-print

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