What Is Offset Printing?

Offset printing, also known as lithography, has long been the gold standard of the printing industry.

The flat printing technique has been around since the late 1800s and it is still commonly used for newspapers, magazines, books and catalogs.

Today, modern technology has improved the quality and speed of offset printing. This new technique allows us to produce large (or extra-large) runs at a low per-piece price.

The process starts with prepress, where our offset experts convert digital files (that may contain text, images or both) into four-color format and verify the final product. These images are then transferred by a special chemical process to metal printing plates.

Ink is applied to the plates by inking fountains or rollers. The plates transfer (offset) the inked image to a rubber “blanket,” which transfers the ink to the printing surface. Part of the prepress preparation involves the creation of printing plates for each color that will be applied as part of the completed image. For this reason, the majority of the time spent in producing offset printing takes place before ink hits the paper.

The equipment used for this process is massive. The machines rapidly feed large cylinders of paper, or whatever the desired surface may be, through the press for inking. The paper is pulled continuously, printing the image over and over. This produces multiple copies of the image with consistent color, size, and resolution. Once the images are in place and set, the large sheets are cut to the desired size. The inked copies are also checked to ensure enough color was applied and it looks as intended.

Common materials produced by offset printing include newspapers, stationary, books, and fine art.

The Benefits of Offset Printing

Offset printing produces high-quality images quickly and economically while maintaining consistency in the appearance. Typeface and image edges are sharp and colors are true.

Although the bulk of the time required for an offset printing run is in the preparation, this phase is significantly less time-consuming than it used to be, thanks to advanced modern technology. Because the printing plates do not directly contact the printing surface, they are long-lasting with no significant loss of fidelity.

In some cases, offset plates can hold up for a million or more impressions!

The per-piece cost can be low for offset runs, and the more pieces you need, the lower the cost for each. Although the major drawback of this process was once the time required for setup, that time is negligible today. This printing method is the most affordable choice for large quantities of high quality prints.


Is Offset Printing Right For Your Project?

Besides a ridiculously low cost for large jobs, this technique can provide many advantages for your organization. You can choose from a variety of paper types, finishes and thicknesses. You can also choose from an almost limitless number of inks, such as metallic, fluorescent, environmentally conscious, vegetable-based and custom colored.

For projects that require a branded color, such as Pantone, offset is the only way to go.

The offset process is a great printing method for any job of more than 100 pieces.


Sun Print Solutions | Offset Printing

If you’re looking to complete a printing project, Sun Print Solutions provides professional offset and digital printing services for all kinds of industries throughout the nation. We process everything in-house to ensure the highest-quality results. Our customer service is second to none. In fact, we credit the fact that we have been in business for almost 80 years to our commitment to our customers. Give us a call or fill out the form below to request a price estimate for your project and learn more about how Sun Print Solutions can fulfill your offset printing needs.


We hire only the best in the business to craft your campaign, and most of them have been with us at least a decade. At Sun Print Solutions, a good eye for design fuses with technical skill in order to exceed your expectations.


Sun Print Solutions is the ONLY commercial printer in Utah officially licensed to print the union label of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (Fun fact: 100% of production employees
belong to IBT.)


You may call us printing geeks, and you’d be right. We are always adding to our already state-of-the-art collection of printers, binders and die-cutters…and the list goes on…