The Stages of Commercial Printing

April 24, 2023

The Stages of Commercial Printing

Commercial printing is used for a variety of purposes, including advertising. This includes printing products such as catalogs, brochures, flyers, booklets, business cards, and stationery. The commercial printing process involves several stages, including prepress planning, prepress production, and the selection of specific printing techniques. Understanding these steps is helpful for business owners, purchasing agents, and marketing professionals.


Often, one of the most overlooked aspects of commercial printing is what happens to your files before they are actually printed. That’s why prepress is such a critical part of getting your print project ready to go. Prepress consists of all of the steps that a printer must take to transform your digital file into a final, print-ready file for your project. This process includes converting your files, making sure that they’re properly set up, proofing for errors and more. It also involves creating a plate for your print job. This plate is what will transfer the ink to the paper when it’s printed on a press. Back before the computer came along, the entire process of prepress involved a team of skilled craftsmen taking all of your designs and preparing them for printing. That involved melting lead to set the type for printing, manually creating color separations and more. Today, most of the work is automated using tools that make it more efficient and reliable for everyone involved in the process. These tools include tools that automatically re-folio pages, digital dummies for soft proofs and more. These tools help reduce errors, reinforce quality standards and speed up production.


Commercial printing is a process that enables organizations to make a variety of sales and marketing materials (such as brochures, pamphlets, flyers, manuals, etc.) on various materials such as paper, textile products, metal, glass and plastic. It is important for organizations to choose a good commercial printer who can help them accomplish their objectives. In the technical portion of the process, a print image is transferred to the printing plates using a process that is similar to photo development. The plate is mounted on the press’s plate cylinder, which rotates and comes in contact with rollers wet with water and ink, which transfers the image areas to the intermediate blanket cylinder. These areas then transfer to the impression cylinder, which presses them against the paper to produce the finished product.

Post press

The final stage of commercial printing is post-press, where the printed material is cut to size, trimmed to shape, folded, and glued. This final step helps your graphic come together in a way that is attractive and functional. Post-press operations are very varied and depend on the type of product being produced. For example, greeting cards might require perforating and varnishing, while metal printing products like utensils may need drilling. They also might need to be coated with varnishes or other protective coatings.

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