Printing processes

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  • Printing processes
    • Screen printing
      • Low cost
      • Can print on virtually any material
      • Posters, T-shirts and some signs
      • Ideal for short-runs where fine detail is needed
        • Colours can be inconsistent
      • A screen is used with a stencil on - paint is applied to transfer the stencil image onto the material.
      • The ink/pain can take a long time to dry
    • Gravure
      • Very high quality
      • Expensive to set up
      • Magazines, stamps and photos in books
      • Ideal for long-runs and is very fast
      • Uses a copper plate with small holes on the surface
        • Chemicals used have negative impact on the enviroment
    • Flexography
      • Used for large print runs and is relatively fast
      • Quite inexpensive
        • Chemicals are damaging to the environment
          • Uses rubber plates - the process is the same in offset lithography
        • Can print on a range of materials such as plastics, foils, paper and board
      • Not as high quality compared to gravure or lithography
        • Packaging, carrier bags and wallpaper
      • Chemicals are damaging to the environment
        • Uses rubber plates - the process is the same in offset lithography
    • Lithography
      • Lithography uses an oil based ink and water as these will not mix
      • Offset lithography uses rubber cylinders with images printed on which transfers the ink to the material
      • Medium and long-print runs
        • Fairly high quality and inexpensive cost
      • Magazines, posters, newspapers, packaging and books
      • Can only be used on flat surfaces
    • Digital printing
      • Posters, flyers and business cards
        • Designed for small - print runs
      • Used at home, schools and work
      • High quality colour
      • Not very expensive
    • Letterpress
      • A plate with raised parts to transfer letters and designs
      • Small jobs such as business cards and stationery
      • Becoming less common because it is very time consuming
    • Block printing
      • Shapes cut into blocks usually made of wood or metal - ink is applied and then pressed onto material
      • Good for repeating patterns but detailed patterns can be created if the block is well made
      • Small- medium print runs
      • Wallpaper, greeting cards and tablecloths


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