A 2 Minute Marketer’s Guide to Sheet Fed Litho Printing

by Rich B

Why should I read this?
Why should you be remotely interested in understanding sheet fed litho printing? It’s an entirely valid question and the short answer is that you shouldn’t. Life’s too short. Spend that extra 5 minutes chatting to Deb by the coffee machine or installing another Blackberry app. Unless, that is … unless you want to know how to save money when buying print. Or rather, how not to waste it.

How am I wasting money?
It’s easy. Print sounds simple, but by putting your job with the wrong printing services company, you’re wasting money. How much is difficult to say as it’s different from job to job. But one thing’s for sure; that understanding the different printing processes is key to placing the right job with the right printer, and that’s key to producing an efficient job which in turn leads to you not wasting your money.

5 Unit Sheet fed litho printing press

A job on a 5-unit sheet fed litho printing press (being closely overseen by our very own Booner!)

So what is Sheet Fed Litho Printing?
Litho refers to lithographic – that’s a process whereby hydrophobic ink (meaning the ink won’t mix with water) is attracted to a printing plate that carries the image of your artwork. This ink is then transferred to a printing blanket and it’s that blanket, carrying the ink, that transfers the artwork image onto the paper. With Sheet Fed Litho, the paper is in cut sheets before it enters the press (rather like how your home printer is fed with cut sheets) as opposed to web-fed where the paper is fed as a single, continuous sheet from a huge roll.

What’re the benefits of Sheet Fed Litho Printing over other Printing Processes?

  • The turnaround time of a project is usually quicker for medium sized jobs.
  • Sheet fed litho can generally print on heavier papers and can print on non-paper stocks such as card and plastics.
  • It can therefore handle a wider variety of jobs.
  • It produces less waste.
  • Changes can be made more easily on sheet fed than web fed presses.

What’s Sheet Fed Litho Printing best used for?

  • Smaller and medium sized print runs
  • Magazines
  • Booklets
  • Brochures
  • Fliers
  • Business Cards

So there you have it. Whenever you have the full specification of your printing project, it’s imperative you shop around to ensure it’s going to the right type of printing services provider.

Next Article in this series – Web Offset Printing.

Why not also check out: Introduction to Direct Mail Printing, Proofing for Print

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