a.k.a. litho, lithography, offset lithography

Offset Printing is the most common form of print production today. Almost every printed object you come in contact with daily is printed by offset, such as newspapers, magazines, books, etc. While offset is economical, it is also just "flat printing". Offset print can be enhanced in many ways, by using various varnish finishes, ultra-violet coatings, adding thermography, register embossing or other finishing techniques to the ink or paper.

Offset printing gets its name from the fact that the ink is set-off from the plate to the rubber blanket, and then to the printed piece. Offset printing works on the principle that oil and water do not mix. The printing plate has image and non-image areas that either attract or repel water. The plate is moistened, water is repelled from the image areas, and then ink will stick to the image area. The ink is then offset to the finished piece.

Offset printing requires a printing plate. While there are several methods of making offset printing plates, most today are produced by "computer-to-plate" plate setters.

Offset presses range from small one-color duplicator type presses all the way up to giant web (roll fed) machines with eight colors and inline finishing capabilities. Because of the wide range of presses available, to get the best and most efficient results on any print project, it is important to match each job with the correct printer.