When working with a couple to design their perfect invitation, one of the questions that we consider is what printing process is right for them. Included below is very basic information about the various methods that we offer, including Offset, Laser, Thermography, and Engraving.
With offset printing, the ink sits flat on the paper. The basic principles of offset printing remain constant, although sizes and quantities of presses may vary. When a plate is exposed, an ink-receptive coating is activated on the printing area. Once on the press, the plate is dampened, first by water, then by ink. Ink adheres only to the image area. As the press cylinders begin to rotate, the image is transferred to a rubber blanket. Paper then passes between the blanket and the image is “offset” onto the paper.
Our printing professionals provide clean lines and sharp type. Most importantly, we only work with professionals who stand behind their work. For the budget-conscious, offset is an excellent choice, especially for larger quantities of materials. If quantities are small (50 or less), consider laser printing as another option, as this will usually cost less.
Laser printed pieces often look the same as offset printed pieces, if they are printed correctly and on a laser-friendly paper. The laser method involves fusing toner onto the paper with heat. Some papers buckle under the heat, so we help you determine whether or not laser is the choice for you. The biggest difference between laser printing and offset printing is that laser printing can be scratched off of the paper with a little effort. Laser printing is a fabulous option to save money when quantities are small. As quantities increase, offset becomes a better option for the wallet.
On thermographed pieces, the ink is raised above the surface of the paper. Thermography involves five stages of printing, the first being the application of a slow-drying ink. Four more ink applications are then added. Thermography is not recommended for small type or photographs, as the finished product is not legible or clear. It is a great process to use in combination with other processes (for example, offset with thermographed names.) It is also a fantastic money-saving alternative to engraving.
With engraving, an image is raised above the surface of the paper. Engraving typically provides the clearest, sharpest image of all traditional printing methods. Plates for engraving are made of steel or copper; the ink is applied and floods the cavities of the plate. The plate is then wiped clean, leaving the image area filled with ink. Intense pressure is applied to transfer the image to the paper. Engraving is typically the most expensive process, but the finished product is lush, beautiful, and of the highest quality.
If you have any questions about these processes, please contact us. We would be happy to help you select the perfect printing process for your invitations, announcements, save the dates, programs, menus, and other custom correspondence.