different printing methods
Small Business

What are the different printing methods available?

Here are several types of printing you can use for your business.

There are many different printing methods available, and each continue to evolve. Each type suits a different need, which means businesses can choose a printing technique Giant Printing that best represents their product or service. So what are the different types of printing and how do they differ? 

  Printing is something that dates back to 220 AD. The oldest known printing technique is woodcarving which involves carving an image onto a wood surface. 

  Since then, printing has come a long way – instead of hand-carving, you can choose from a variety of technologically advanced methods. The most common and commonly used types are: 

  • Offset Lithography
  • Flexography 
  • Digital Printing
  • Large Format
  • Screen Printing
  • 3D Printing

Offset Lithography 

Commonly used for: 
  • Materials with rough surfaces eg. wood, canvas, and fabric 
  • You can also use this versatile method for books, paper, stationery, and more.

These are prints, usually made of aluminum, each containing an image of the content to be printed. 

These sheets are then transferred (shifted) onto a platen or cover plate before being placed on the print media, which can be any type of paper. The print media does not come into contact with the metal plates, which prolongs the life of the plates. In addition, the flexible material of the roller or blanket allows offset lithography to be used on all supports with rough surfaces. 

Offset lithography is ideal for producing consistently high-quality images and can be used for small or large print jobs. It is also a versatile choice as it can print on any flat surface,  whether smooth like paper or rough like canvas.


Commonly used for: 
  • Packaging and labels 
  • Anything with a continuous pattern, eg. wallpaper and gift wrapping 

Flexography printing is the modern version of letterpress printing. It is common to see the use of this on printing on uneven surfaces. This print uses semi-liquid inks, dries quickly, and can be used for high-volume jobs. 

Use flexible photopolymer printing plates wound around a rotating shaft on a rotary press. These ink plates display slightly raised content images and are rotated at high speed to transfer the image onto the print media. The flexographic printer is a popular choice due to its high print speed, suitability for long periods of time, and its ability to print on a wide range of media including plastics, cellophane, and foil. 

Digital Printing 

Commonly used for: 
  • Posters and signage 
  • Labels, newsletters, menus, and letters 

Digital printing is a modern method that includes many other techniques including inkjet and laser printing. In digital printing, images are sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDF files. This eliminates the need for a printing plate, which is used in other types of printing such as lithography, and can save time and money (unless you are printing in larger quantities).

Digital printing enables quick turnaround and enables businesses to print on demand. It is also ideal for short runs – requests can be fulfilled with just one print. If you choose digital printing for the right job, it can be a cost-effective method that still produces the same high-quality prints as other large-scale options.

For large print media such as building wraps, billboards, banners and murals, large format printing is the best option. The other printing methods will not be able to produce as large a material. Most businesses choose large format media to produce flat items which can be hung on a wall, but they can also be folded or made to stand freely. 

Large Format 

Commonly used for: 
  • Large signs (e.g., Vinyl Billboards, Posters, Banners)
  • Wallpaper & Murals
  • Floor Graphics 
  • Lamination

As the name suggests, wide format printing exists to produce the maximum print roll width. Perfect for traditional media and businesses looking to make a big impact on their clients, this printing method gives you a much larger work surface than other methods such as technical printing.

Instead of printing on individual sheets, large-format printing uses numbered impression rolls to produce one large sheet.

Silkscreen Printing 

Commonly used for: 
  • Printing logos and images on clothing 
  • Fabric banners 
  • Posters 

Screen printing is a printing technique in which a thin material or mesh is used. used to transfer an image onto another material. The mesh is stretched to create a screen and the ink is pressed into the mesh for successful photo printing. Often used to print graphics onto clothing and other pieces of fabric, screen printing can also be used for paper and metal

Screen printing requires a lot of setups, so it’s best to use this feature to print repeated items in bulk. It is not very cost-effective for small quantity orders. But if you need a large portion of the same image, it’s a very cost-effective printing method. 

3D Printing 

Commonly used for: 
  • Promotional and marketing gifts 
  • Novelty items 
  • Display items 
  • Toy figurines 

 Since the 1980s, 3D printing has been allowing us to print objects in three-dimensional form, which can be a great way to influence your audience. Desired objects of various shapes and sizes are created using digital model data from 3D models or electronic sources, such as an additive manufacturing file ‘AMF’. The mixture of additive compounds is then fused together to create this 3D object. 

 3D printers are getting more and more sophisticated. Nowadays, even items with moving parts inside can be printed. After the parts are processed on a computer program such as CAD, the small layers are printed on top of each other with a special plastic.

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