Commercial printing services provide high volume web or sheet fed printing, duplication and publication of magazines, newspapers, catalogs, brochures, graphics, drawings, images and other printed media. The printing processes may include digital printing, laser printing, offset printing, flexographic printing, lithographic, screen printing, thermal transfer, letterpress, gravure, reverse roll, and other printing processes. Commercial printers can print original media and/or duplicate or copy existing materials. Text, images, graphics, technical drawings may be printed or duplicated.
Many organizations use commercial printing services for their promotional or marketing materials. Commercial printing services may also include design and editing services, and direct mailing or distribution services. Large commercial printing services providers may also offer marketing and promotion services, such as managing the creation of trade show booths and materials. A commercial printing company typically offers a variety of printing technologies that an organization can choose from to meet budget and design criteria, ranging from simple reprographic techniques to full color printing. Lithographic commercial printing or offset printing involves using a plate of zinc or aluminum that is treated to retain ink in the image part of the plate and repel ink in the non-image part of the plate. Flexographic commercial printing uses a rubber cylinder with a relief of the image on it to transfer the image to the paper. These techniques are typically used for large print runs.
Commercial printing services can offer cost effective black and white printing up through to very expensive full color commercial printing. Marketing materials such as annual reports, brochures, and other promotional items are usually printed in full color, while smaller items such as internal newsletters, business cards, and letterhead is printed in black and white or with spot colors. Commercial printing services can work from an organization’s supplied media, such as a printed sample called a mechanical, or more frequently, a digitally created file. A large organization may have their own graphic designer on staff and use a commercial printer only for producing finished products. Smaller companies or start-ups may use a commercial printing service to plan and design their marketing materials.