What Is Four Color Printing? What Is The Difference Between Digital Printing and Offset Printing?

I often invite potential customers or current customers to tour our facility. Most have never been in a printing company. When I ask them do they know why they call it four color process most do not know. The colorful picture you see above is made up of just four colors, cyan, magenta, yellow and black. A four color offset press has four sections and each cylinder is loaded with these four colors. The paper starts on one end and then each color is printed as it goes through the press. When it comes out on the other end it has the full color printing. This process is offset printing and it puts ink on the paper. The paper absorbs the ink and thus the difference between offset and digital printing. In digital printing the ink is toner and it lays on top of the paper and is not absorbed in the paper. Digital printing usually has a more vibrant color because it is not absorbed in the paper. Digital printing is for smaller quantities (at Burns it is 10,000) and offset is for larger quantities. If a customer orders a smaller quantity and then decides to order a larger quantity of the same item, we have to be sure to tell them that the two processes will look different because one absorbs the ink and the other does not.

If you would like a copy of the resource guide above, email me at phyllis@burnsmp.com.

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