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Types of Commercial Printing

Updated: Feb 23

Every business, big or small, needs to find ways to increase visibility and brand awareness. One of the best ways is through printed materials, i.e. commercial printing. This service can help any company print top-quality customized items that can establish a strong and consistent image. But what types of commercial printing are available?


Due to our innovative and advanced modern technology, we’ve never had so many variations of commercial printing available. These types of printing enable us to take our advertisements to the next level. However, choosing the right method has also become more difficult.


That’s why we will help you understand the different variations of commercial printing. This way, you can make an informed decision and make the right choice for your business!


Types of Commercial Printing
Source: shutterstock.com/ Photo Contributor: smolaw

Commercial Printing


Commercial printing refers to creating large volumes of items for commercial purposes. This service may include printing magazines, catalogs, and postcards for businesses looking to increase visibility. These items can make a significant difference when it comes to promoting your product or service.


Any type of business, big or small, can take great advantage of this service. There’s no limit to how you can use commercial printing for custom products.


By far, the most frequent use of this method is marketing and advertising. The customization option creates a unique brand identity that will make you stand out in the market. Additionally, our commercial printing service offers distinctive publications that can raise awareness of your business.


Ultimately, a commercial printing service can be your greatest ally regarding high-quality and fast delivery for branded items. However, the type of commercial printing your company needs depends on your work.


So, to better understand them, here are the different types we provide:

  • Digital printing

  • Offset lithography

  • Flexography printing

  • Large format printing

  • LED UV printing

Below, we’ll dive deeper into each type and discover which suits your business best. Take a look into their uses, how they work, and what they offer.


Types of Commercial Printing


Choosing the right type of commercial printing can be relatively challenging. We can help you make the right decision and take advantage of the full potential of commercial printing.


After all, without a diversity of methods, you wouldn’t be able to create unique items and products that make your brand stand out from the crowd.


You can mix and match the different methods for variations of campaigns and services. Thus, knowing the differences can help you enhance your knowledge of commercial printing.


Digital printing


Digital printing is one of the most common methods and a more modern technique in commercial printing. This refers to the process of printing digital imagery and designs directly onto various substrates. With digital printing, you can enjoy the perks of high-quality products for low costs.


Compared to more traditional methods, such as lithography, flexography, letterpress, and others, digital printing skips some mechanical steps required for conventional printing. This includes creating films and color proofs, manually stripping pieces together, and making printing plates.


During digital printing, an image goes directly from your PDF file to our digital printer. This makes the digital printing method the most efficient and quickest way for us to produce large-scale print items.

The most common products that are printed with digital printing are:

  • Labels

  • Letters

  • Newsletters

  • Banners

  • Point of sale items

  • Menus


Offset lithography


As we’ve mentioned, offset lithography is on the more traditional side of printing methods. However, this technique generally produces the highest quality prints compared to the rest of the types of commercial printing.


Offset lithography offers various benefits, including its versatility and cost-effectiveness. This method tackles large quantities of prints most efficiently and delicately.


During the process of offset lithography printing, an image or content is transferred from a metal plate onto a secondary roller and then onto the paper. It works on the principle of oil and water separation. The metal plates are adjusted to attract ink on image areas and attract water while repelling ink on non-image areas.


Afterwards, the inked area is then administered onto a rubber cylinder, which rotates the paper, transferring the print onto it.


This technique provides the highest degree of control over lines and colors. The results are an outstanding vibrant palette, crystal clear pictures, and high-end printing materials.


The most common products printed by offset lithography are:

  • Boxes

  • Cardstock

  • Paper

  • Plastic


Offset lithography
Source: shutterstock.com/ Photo Contributor: silvano audisio

Flexographic printing


Flexographic printing, or flexography, is another form of suitable printing for businesses at cheaper costs. This method is the perfect option for printing on uneven surface products and packaging materials at a large scale.


Flexography is best recognized for its high production speed, swiftness, and versatility of inks. This process includes inked rubber plates that contain the printing image. With this, the image will be transferred onto almost any uneven printing surface.


With its quick-drying technology, you can create high-end collateral products on short notice. Businesses can expect nothing less than commercial prints with excellent quality by flexographic printing.


Furthermore, flexography is most popular in the food industry since the ink it uses for prints is safe and non-toxic for the wrappers. This method allows prints on various items and materials, which include:

  • Metal foils

  • Paper and plastic containers

  • Cellophane

  • Corrugated-cardboard boxes

  • Envelopes


Large format printing


Large-format printing allows printing products on larger materials that traditional printing methods can’t accommodate. This method allows brands to convey a significant impact through large print that gets everyone's attention.


Overall, digital printing and large-format printing are quite similar. During the large-format printing process, ink is directly applied to products. This method is an ideal technique for full-color and attention-grabbing photographs, posters, and images.


Typically, the maximum width for large format printings is 61 inches. Additionally, the length is determined by the material’s length being printed. But you can have just about any size for marketing materials, such as banners and poster print substrates. However, this can vary depending on the commercial printing service you choose.


In addition, some of the most common products of large format printings are:

  • External banners

  • Wallpapers

  • Laminating

  • Large signage

  • Pop-up displays

  • Billboards

  • Exhibition graphics

  • Other large-scale marketing materials


Final Words


Commercial printing is extremely popular among both growing and starting businesses. It can help you with all stages of customer acquisition and retention.


Now that we’ve explored the different types of commercial printing, you understand why it’s a crucial step for expanding your brand name. You can confidently start designing, printing, and distributing a myriad of products and items. That means you’ll need to find a suitable commercial printing service that best satisfies your needs.


So, we hope we have provided you with the information you were looking for on commercial printing!


Steve Bates

Steve is the president of CityPress and brings a wealth of knowledge from the printing industry to readers, helping them make more informed decisions in an ever changing printing space.

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