Six Of The Most Popular Printing Techniques

In this age of modern convenience, we are privy to many different design choices that only twenty years ago would have been reserved for a select few. Digital printers can offer a wide selection of different styles that, if used correctly, can add a uniqueness and singularity to any presentation while appearing as if hand-made. From business cards to thank-you notes, never before have so many options been available. Let us examine six of the most popular techniques.

Silk Screening

This process has been quite popular for a number of years. Results are accomplished by using a woven fabric that supports a stencil. By pressing the mesh into the template, the areas of open ink can be transferred onto a medium. A roller is placed over the stencil and then applied with pressure evenly across, allowing the ink image to be transferred. This process can be mechanised but can be done by hand as well, depending on the quantity desired.

Offset Printing

This style has also existed for quite some time and may present itself as one of the more familiar types listed here. It is especially common for bulk orders and as the ink is used sparingly, it is a very cost-effective way of producing large quantities of a specific design. Initially, an image already formed in ink is transferred to a rubber substrate and thereafter transferred to the surface to be printed. Offset printing is commonly used in newspapers and magazines.

Silk Lamination

Often times, individuals wish their documents to be durable and water-resistant, specifically when referring to business cards or other such documents which will see repeated handling. A liquid or film (spray) is be applied which will thereafter dry and produce either a dull, glossy or satin effect.


Another popular style is embossing, which is defined as having a paper or other malleable material pressed between two plates; one providing the necessary pressure and one containing the design. When the process is completed, a raised design will appear. Often times, materials will be digitally printed first and thereafter the pressure is applied to achieve the desired effect.


This technique is obviously the opposite of embossing; that is, while embossing creates a raised impression using a stencil and a pressure plate, debossing creates depressions in the material, giving texture in these lowered areas. As with embossing, this method can give materials a unique feel. It is often used in specialty items such as wedding invitations or business cards.


Thermography is a procedure in which the printed ink is raised slightly higher than the paper or other material. In fact, this effect is very similar to engraving, however the labour and cost are significantly reduced due to the method by which this outcome is achieved. While engraving is the result of physical manipulation, thermography utilises a powder which is added to ink. After this ink is transferred by a digital printer, the paper is heated. The powder in the mixture dries and the print becomes raised.

These Techniques in Relation to the Digital Age

Of considerable importance here is the reality that these effects can also be accomplished using modern methods. In processes such as embossing and debossing, it is first necessary to print whatever graphical material is required on the material before completing the physical process. Likewise, to laminate an item with a certain finish requires any print to already exist on the surface before the coat can be applied.

Document options offer a range of large format digital printing services which can achieve the same effects as many of the traditional processes of silk screening and offset printing, more rapidly and for a fraction of the cost.

Guest blogger:  This article was written by guest blogger Adrian Harrison.