Is Offset Printing The Same As Lithography?



The printing industry is a lucrative business that produces billions of products each year. The process of printing involves transferring ink to paper and creating items such as books, magazines, advertisements and more. However, the two types of printing techniques are very different. In this article we will explain how offset and lithography differ from one another so that you can decide which one is right for your project!

Is Offset Printing The Same As Lithography?

To some, offset printing is considered to be the same as lithography. However, there are differences between them. The following are some of these differences:

  • Lithography uses a flat surface and an ink roller to transfer ink onto paper. On the other hand, offset printing uses plates and a blanket roll for this purpose. Lithography therefore refers to the process of separating ink onto image areas for transfer to a substrate.

  • Offset printing on the other hand, refers to the process by which that ink is then transferred to the substrate. There are several methods of doing this. For example, flexography, and rotogravure in addition to lithography also use offset printing to accomplish this.

Offset printing is a common technique that is used to transfer ink to the paper. Both lithography and offset printing have similar features and functions, but there are underlying differences as well.

Lithography is a printing process in which an image drawn on a plate with greasy crayon or ink is transferred onto paper using water and pressure. The plate is then etched with acid as it goes through an etching machine, which creates raised dots on the surface of your printed product such as business cards. 

Offset printing on the other hand refers to a broader definition of printing that encompases lithography. It also uses plates with images drawn on them; however, it transfers ink from an inked roll onto newsprint (inked side up) instead of directly onto paper (inked side down). This method allows for quicker production times than lithographic methods because less work has to be done before getting your end result - you only need one press!

What Is Offset Printing?

Offset printing is a method of printing that transfers an image from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. It's often used for commercial printing by companies like newspapers and magazines, but it can also be used for personal projects like invitations or postcards.

With offset printing, you'll want to choose high-quality paper for your design because it helps make the final product look professional and clean. The process starts with creating images on plates made out of metal or polymer resin with raised areas that hold ink in place. Those images are then transferred onto coated aluminum plates called lithographic stones so they can be used in further steps during offset printing.

The next step is transferring an image from one of these lithographic stones onto an etching roller (also known as an intaglio cylinder). This roller transfers ink from its surface onto a rubber blanket, which holds it until pressed against paper during the actual print run. Finally—and most importantly—your design gets transferred from this rubber blanket onto paper after being printed via flatbed press or rotary web presses

What Is Lithography?

Lithography is a printing technique that uses a flat surface to transfer an image. It’s used to print on a variety of surfaces, including paper, plastic and metal. Lithography is used in the printing of newspapers, magazines, books and posters. Offset lithography is a variation of this process where plates or cylinders are used instead of flat surfaces.

There are three basic elements in lithographic printing:

  • The original image (also called the “master”) that has been drawn or photographed onto film;

  • A stone or plate covered in greasy ink; and

  • A rubber cylinder known as a “rubber blanket” (or sometimes colloquially called an “emulsion roll”).

Offset printing and lithography are not the same.

Offset printing and lithography are not the same. You may have heard of offset printing and not know what it is, but if you've ever worked in a print shop or seen a commercial product with an image printed on it, then you've experienced offset printing firsthand. Offset printing is a common technique that is used to transfer ink to paper through the application of pressure (think about how many times you've stamped your name on a birthday card). Lithography is another method of applying ink onto paper; however, lithography uses a different process than that used by offset printers to create images on ceramic plates or glass.


Lithography and offset printing are not the same. They both use inks to create prints on paper, but they refer to different processes in the assembly line of production. Lithography is a traditional technique that has been around for centuries and refers to how the image gets to the printing plate and then the substrate, while offset printing is more to describe the entire process of transferring the ink to the substrate.