top of page
Image by Andrej Lišakov

Litho Printing

Lithography, commonly referred to as litho printing or offset printing, is a widely used printing process that involves the use of a flat surface to transfer an image or design onto paper or other materials. This process is based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. Here's an overview of the litho printing process:

1. Plate Preparation:

  • The process begins with the creation of a printing plate. The plate is typically made of aluminum and is coated with a photosensitive emulsion.

  • A film negative of the image or design is produced, and this negative is placed over the coated plate.

  • The plate is then exposed to light, causing a chemical reaction in the emulsion. This reaction makes certain areas of the plate ink-receptive (image areas) and water-receptive (non-image areas).

2. Printing Setup:

  • The printing press has multiple rollers, each with a specific function. These include the plate cylinder, blanket cylinder, and impression cylinder.

  • The plate cylinder holds the printing plate, the blanket cylinder carries a rubber blanket, and the impression cylinder applies pressure to transfer the image onto the paper.

3. Dampening System:

  • The non-image areas of the plate are kept damp using a dampening system. This ensures that water adheres to these areas while repelling ink.

  • The image areas, having been exposed to light, repel water and attract ink.

4. Ink Application:

  • Ink is applied to the plate by an ink roller. The ink adheres only to the image areas due to the chemical properties set during the plate exposure.

5. Image Transfer:

  • The inked image is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket wrapped around the blanket cylinder.

  • The rubber blanket, being offset from the plate, receives the inked image and transfers it to the paper with precision.

6. Printing on Substrate:

  • The paper is fed through the press and comes into contact with the rubber blanket on the impression cylinder.

  • The inked image is then transferred from the rubber blanket to the paper.

7. Finishing:

  • After printing, the sheets may undergo additional processes such as cutting, folding, and binding to produce the final printed product.

Key Characteristics and Advantages:

  • High Quality: Litho printing is known for producing high-quality prints with sharp detail and vibrant colors.

  • Cost-Effective for Large Runs: It becomes more cost-effective for large quantities due to efficient setup.

  • Versatility: Suitable for various materials, including paper, cardboard, metal, and plastics.

  • Consistent Color Reproduction: Offers consistent and accurate color reproduction across large print runs.

  • Customization: Allows for fine-tuning and customization during the printing process.

Litho printing is widely used for producing items like magazines, brochures, packaging materials, and other high-quality printed products. While it excels in large-volume printing, digital printing technologies are becoming more competitive for shorter print runs and variable data applications. The choice between litho and digital printing depends on specific project requirements.


At APG, we pride ourselves on offering litho print solutions to everyone. No job is too big or too small. That’s because we have the expertise and skills to deliver what our customers need.

bottom of page