How are magazines printed?
Magazines are still incredibly popular forms of consuming information. With their detailed articles and bright, glossy pictures, magazines remain appealing. However, whereas most people have at some point read a magazine or two, the world of magazine printing is one very few people know all about. Learn ‘how the sausage gets made’ with our complete guide to magazine printing. Read on to answer the burning question: how are magazines printed?
What kind of paper are magazines printed on?
Magazines can be printed on a variety of paper stocks. However, the most common choice is Silk stock.
Silk is a type of paper that is lightly laminated, providing a smooth ‘silk-like’ feel. A light plastic coating is bonded with the surface of the paper under pressure, providing a slight sheen to the stock. Silk falls somewhere between Matt and Gloss lamination in terms of its finish. It is soft to the touch, but not velvety like Soft-Touch Lamination.
Silk paper is extremely popular for magazines, as it enhances the finish for an aesthetically-pleasing look. Meanwhile, the added lamination offers some extra durability to the pages. Silk stock for magazines comes in weights of 100 to 170 gsm (grams per square metre)- which is reasonably thin, as you have to combine a lot of pages to create a magazine. The added durability from the Silk lamination helps prevent tears.
Although Silk is the most popular paper for magazine printing, there are many other options available. You could choose Kraft paper (unbleached, fully recycled) for an eco-friendly magazine, or perhaps choose a Matt laminate for a subdued effect for a sombre publication. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your options.
Different types of magazine printing
Magazines are printed through a variety of different methods, depending on their size, number of images, colour scheme and various other factors. The two most common forms of printing are Digital and Lithographic, but there are other options out there too!
Digital printing is fast becoming the most popular form of printing in modern times. There is no need for plates - the design simply goes from computer straight to digital printer.
Digital printing is very time-efficient and the graphics and photos achieved are of excellent quality.
Digital printing is best used for short runs or variable printing. With variable data, you can change your design per product: for example, each magazine may have a unique discount code on the back page. This page should be printed digitally; if you chose Lithographic printing (printing with plates) you would need to physically make a new plate for every variable.
Offset Lithography (Lithographic)
Lithographic is a tried and tested form of printing, created in 1817! During the lithographic process, plates are used to print your design. The process is as follows:
- Make the plates – create plates that act as a ‘stamp’ of your design.
- Wet the plates
- Ink the plates
- Create your finished print
The ink will adhere to any areas where there is text or graphic, but not to any empty space. This is because the water repels the ink.
Lithographic printing is best for long print runs of the same item, as once you’ve created the plates you can make copies time and time again.
Letterpress is an older method of printing which is starting to die out. Also know as relief printing, a printing press is implemented to produce copies by impressing an inked, raised surface – like a large-scale stamp.
Nowadays, it’s only occasionally used to create specialist items, and is a fairly time-consuming process.
Modern flexology (often called Flexo printing) is a modernised version of the archaic Letterpress. Flexo uses flexible, photo-etched plates wrapped around cylinders that rotate on a web press. The plates are inked and rotate at high speed. This transfers the image to the paper.
Flexologoy is well suited for continuous patters (e.g. wallpaper or gift wrap printing).
Rotogravure printing is an expensive form of printing that produces very high quality prints. This technique uses plates and involves direct contact between plates and paper stock. It is an intaglio process, as the design is etched below the surface of the printing plate.
Rotogravure printing is ideal for creating photo quality prints.
How do we print magazines?
At EazyPrint, we’re committed to ensuring you get the best quality product for the best value price. As such, we tend to use digital printing for short runs and variable data, but lithographic printing for longer print runs. This will work out as much more cost-effective for the customer.
We can also die-cut your products, so that they are different shapes to the traditional magazine page. This involves creating a new bladed template (for a set cost) and using that to ‘punch out’ the ideal shape. Once the template is created, it can be used time and time again, making it a cost effective technique in the long term.
Should you have any questions about magazine printing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today. If you’re looking for magazine options, check out our newsletters and premium booklets.