WHAT IS LITHOGRAPHY
Commercial Lithographic Printing
Commercial printing on a large surface is known as lithography. It is most commonly used to print text or graphics on paper and other materials that can be printed on. A long and intricate process, lithography involves pressing an entire print block on the surface of a sheet of paper or other printable material, this then gets the required image onto the materials with the help of a chemical process.
Lithography is also known as the planography print process because the print block used for the process is flat. The printer draws the desired image on the surface of the block with the help of an oil-based medium and an acid emulsified with gum Arabic. This will then help it to develop a layer of salt around the image this is then removed during a process called etching.
Turpentine is then used to remove the drawing material from the block leaving behind it the layer of salt which will hold together the initial design you have created. When it then comes to printing you must wet the surface of the block with water and put ink on the surface. This mix of paper and stone is then passed through the press which will place the ink onto the paper and lead to a stunning print using very complex but time tested techniques.
For many years this process has evolved making many changes and additions to the original process in order to make this a high standard of printing that is suitable for many that require high industry standards from their printed materials. The lithographic printing process was always considered as something that was only useful for large products but in recent years the industry has changed and this method has been used for business cards and letterheads and other office stationery that is in high demand.
Many people within the industry see the lithographic process as the best method for printing text and illustrations and with the evolution of this process you can now print millions of impressions at once and over a very short period of time. Apart from printing newspapers and books companies now use lithographic printing for general industry print, running short runs and longs with anything from direct mail campaigns to flyers and letterheads.