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A 2023 Primer on Print Types

Print Trade show and event marketing long island primer
We love to start a new year going back to print basics, and what better way to go back to basics than to cover many of the different kinds of printing types that we offer here at Brooks Litho? Come with us on A journey into some print primer basics.


What’s that?  Different TYPES of printing, you say? You mean, there are different types?


You bet there is, my friend. So buckle up, because we are going to school you on some print stuff, definition style.


Let’s start with the basics.


Offset Printing: According to our friends at Wikipedia, “Offset printing is a common printing technique in which the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier. Ink rollers transfer ink to the image areas of the image carrier, while a water roller applies a water-based film to the non-image areas.”


Digital Printing: Those eponymous geniuses over at Xerox explained digital print: “Digital printing is the process of printing digital-based images directly onto a variety of media substrates. There is no need for a printing plate, unlike offset printing. Digital files such as PDFs or desktop publishing files can be sent directly to the digital printing press to print on paper, photo paper, canvas, fabric, synthetics, cardstock, and other substrates.”


Variable Printing:- “Variable data printing is a digital printing process that you can use to create individualized direct mail pieces in a single run based on one or more of the data elements you have about a customer or prospect.

These data points can be anything:

  • customer name
  • address
  • purchase history
  • gender
  • age
  • income
  • and many more.
By themselves or in combinations, these customized unique elements capture attention, and eventually, generate conversion when printed onto a one-of-a-kind mail piece.” This helpful tutorial is from our friend Paul Bobnak over at




Large Format Printing: Large format printing (sometimes called wide format printing) is a category of digital printing that encompasses any prints between 18″ and 120″ in size. Essentially, anything poster-sized or larger. If a print is larger than 120″, it can also be called “grand format”.


Trade Show Printing: Whether you are talking about a small regional event where you need a tabletop tri-fold or a 20’ booth at a major trade happening, trade show graphics can help you manage your brand and make sure your event is successful. Much like the large format and using the same equipment, trade show graphics can be produced at a variety of sizes on dozens of different substrates with a wide array of finishing options. The possibilities are endless and too complex to further detail here, so just know this, if you can dream it, it CAN be printed.


Direct Mail Printing: We like this definition of direct mail by the communications experts over at MailChimp. “Direct mail marketing is any physical correspondence you send to customers in the hopes of getting them to patronize your business. All that your direct mailers need to have is something identifying you or your business, a call to action (CTA), and a way for your customers to contact you.”


Phew!  That was a lot. And if you stuck with us til the very end, you get a gold star. Reach out to us today to schedule a virtual or in-person tour, and we can help you figure out which kind(s) of print is right for your next project.

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