Types of printing: know now the 6 main

One of the most important aspects in the development of a graphic project is the knowledge about the types of printing. Knowing the difference between the systems, as well as their possibilities and limitations, is essential to achieve the ideal result!

For you to stay on top of the various types of printing, below we list the most known types of printing in the graphic market, namely:

  • offset printing
  • fingerprint
  • hybrid printing
  • serigraphy
  • gravure
  • flexography

6 types of printing

1. Offset printing

Offset Printing

The most well-known type of printing in the graphic market. Do you know what the great benefits of offset printing are?

  • perfect for large quantities;
  • fast printing;
  • high quality results;
  • can be used for various types of paper and plastic grammage.

Offset is widely used in business cards, posters, folders and books, as it works with loose sheets. It is also ideal for magazines and newspapers, materials that tend to require long runs.

This technique uses aluminum plate matrices, that is, the material is passed to the matrix and only then transferred to the paper or other used material. Two types of cylinders pressed against each other are used for operation, in addition to the matrix cylinder.

Due to this ease of reproduction, it is not necessary to have a professional to handle the production, as the machine works alone and quickly. The colors are printed separately, using the CMYK system, forming the images through color pigmentation. The basis of this reproduction is the contact between grease and water, components of the offset ink,  guaranteeing the quality of the work .

2. Digital printing


Unlike offset, digital printing  is done directly on the material, using as a matrix a digital file (for example, a PDF), without the intermediation of plates. So, the process here is electronic, laser. It guarantees the same quality, but it is a faster action because it does not need to go through the process of engraving on sheet metal, making the print more technological within the production.

Digital engraving is usually used for the same materials as offset – however, it is more focused on short run prints.

Know some advantages of this type of printing:

  • shorter execution time;
  • cheaper printing proofs;
  • no need for color repair;
  • fast drying.

On the other hand, this model of illustration tends to lose to offset in the final quality and cost-benefit of medium and large print runs.

3. Hybrid printing

Hybrid printing

We have already seen that offset has great benefits and that digital printing has further evolved the service of the previous one, how about combining the benefits of both?

That’s what innovative hybrid printing is all about! One part of the material is offset and the other digitally printed, ensuring high quality and customized applications. 

The machines that do this type of work are specific, it is not possible to do the two mentioned above, for example. This system allows savings at the time of production, since it automatically switches materials between offset and digital printing. In addition, it offers a wide variety of applications.

4. Screen printing

Screen printing

Among the types of printing, serigraphy, or silk-screen, is the most direct modality, because with the help of a nylon or silk screen, numerous works can be done. This is precisely one of its great benefits: the possibility of printing on various items, with sizes and thicknesses of various types on a single device, such as:

  • tissues;
  • key chains;
  • stickers;
  • pens;
  • signaling material;
  • wood;
  • glass;
  • Wallpaper;
  • PVC;
  • rough papers;
  • general gifts.

The silk screen is placed over a frame, through which the ink is poured, in a process guided by photosensitivity. The runs can be small or medium and their quality will depend on the thickness of the canvas.

The process of using this print run is similar to developing a photograph, since dark spaces and special lights are used for the execution of the matrix. This whole procedure is slower until the final result, as it needs to be applied manually, in addition to the drying time.

5. Rotogravure


This system is also known as low relief, as the process works with the image of the matrix in low relief in relation to the surface of the cylinder. The matrix consists of a cylinder made of copper, with small holes, where the engravings are. The process is electromechanical, in which the engraving takes place using touches of industrial diamonds.

Rotogravure is recommended for high speed engravings, with long runs, due to its quality. Large newspapers usually use this option a lot because of its efficiency also when organizing, as objects come out folded and cut.

Among the main advantages it presents is its quick drying, indicated for work done on fabrics or  plastic surfaces . It is also used for reproduction on cardboard, printing labels, magazines, textbooks and art books.

6. Flexography


One of the oldest engraving processes is among the main types of printing in the graphic market. Flexography appeared around 1853 in the USA, but despite this, it is still widely used, especially for engraving on packaging, labels and tags.

It is a technique of rotating reproduction, relief and quick drying ink. Its operation is very reminiscent of a stamp: the embossed parts are rubberized and contain the image, while the rest, being in low relief, runs out of ink – so it does not print. The ink then goes from the matrix to the support, directly.

Among the main benefits are low cost, quick drying, quality and the possibility to serve a wide and varied market.

Choosing the ideal print type

Despite the options that draw the most attention, other points must be taken into account when thinking about your business. Check now  what to evaluate :

Cost X benefit

The first point to be analyzed must be cost-benefit in all projects, that is, the one that best adapts to your need at the moment.

Think of values ​​by quantity, final quality, if you will have profits in the medium, small or long term, for example. In some cases, like digital ones, they have higher prices, but quality, speed and return are also on the rise.

Type of material

Aiming at the quality of your service, think about the  appropriate materials  for each one. Not all types serve all purposes, and you need to understand which ones fit and then decide which impression to make.


Some types of printing are only worthwhile in large quantities, but the professional needs to assess which is the right choice for his job. There is no point in choosing something that only makes 2,000 impressions when you need 500 , for example. But be sure to evaluate the cost-benefit of this process.

The types of printing are increasingly adjusting to the needs of the printing industry, so knowing the main ones facilitates your sales and shows that you are aware of all the processes.

Is it clearer what types of printing and their differences? Which ones do you usually use? Leave a comment telling your choices!

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