Offset printing is a printing technique that involves the transferring of an image from a metal plate to a rubber blanket or rollers before being printed on the receiving media, usually paper. In this method, the paper does not come in direct contact with the metal plates.
Offset printing is also known as offset lithography.
Offset printing, as a development of lithography (q.v.), is based on the principle that water and grease do not mix, so that a greasy ink can be deposited on grease-treated printing areas of the plate, while nonprinting areas, which hold water, reject the ink. The offset plate is usually of zinc or aluminum or a combination of metals, with the surface treated to render it porous and then coated with a photosensitive material. Exposure to an image hardens the coating on printing areas; the coating on nonprinting areas is washed away, leaving wetted metal that will reject ink.
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