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The process of Lithography

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Lithography This process uses a flat aluminium printing plate and works on the principle that oil and water do not mix. The image is transferred onto the plate photographically through ultra-violet light shining through a negative. The plate is then washed with a chemical that makes the image area attractive to the oily ink. The non-image area is later dampened with water to repel the ink. To lengthen the life of the printing plate and prevent the paper becoming damp through contact with the water, a rubber blanket transfers the ink from the plate to the paper. This is called offset lithography and is used for most commercial printing such as books, magazines, brochures etc. If rolls of paper are used rather than flat sheets the process can be speeded up and higher volumes printed. This is called web offset lithography. * 4 colours(process colours) - black, cyan, magenta and yellow - are used to build up all other colours and tones. * Ready mixed (spot colours) ...read more.


It uses a raised surface for printing off, usually made of aluminium sheet. The ink is rolled onto the plate and this is transferred directly to the paper. The quality is very good but the range of available type is very limited. It is used for items such as invitation cards, and short runs of books. * Colours generally limited to one or two ready mixed colours. * Economical for between 500 and 5,000 copies. * High quality in terms of sharpness. * Limited typefaces available. * Used mainly for text only - not suitable for half tone illustrations. Flexography This is similar to letterpress in that it uses raised images but they are made from a rubber or plastic sheet. The flexibility of the plate means that it is particularly suitable for printing on to plastic film, corrugated card etc. and is extensively used for both plastic and paper carrier bags. Wallpaper is sometimes printed using this method. Very small print runs are possible and can be used to print onto ready made carrier bags. ...read more.


* Each colour is ready mixed and can be applied in large solid areas. * Limited to combinations of single colours (typically limited to three or four). * Large areas can be printed. * Economical for under 100 copies using hand fed machinery. * Economical for higher volumes using continuous flat bed screen printing. * Very fine detail is not possible. * Good quality can be achieved as long as images are relatively simple. Photocopying In addition to traditional printing methods, photocopying is used for a considerable number of single colour printed products such as low cost leaflets. Often uses coloured paper for greater effect. Black on white masters are copied and printed. Reductions and enlargements are possible and the process is especially suitable for very small runs. Full colour photocopying is less common due to expense but reasonable quality can be achieved. * Usually black images on to white or coloured paper. * Full colour is possible but relatively expensive. * Masters are needed, which can be crude cut and pasted images. * Can be printed on to sheets, usually A4 and A3 size. * Economical for under 1000 copies. * Good quality can be achieved but this is typically not the case. 74 ...read more.

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