Commercial printing of artwork on a smooth surface is known as lithography. It is widely used to print text on paper or any other material.
The long, intricate process of lithography involves using an entire print block to come in contact with the sheet of paper, which gets the required image on the former with the help of a chemical process.
Lithography is also known as the planographic print process, since the block of the print used in the process is flat. The expert draws the desired image on the surface of the block with the help of an oil-based medium and an acid emulsified with gum arabic. This in turn creates a layer of salt around the image. The process known as etching results in this salt layer being absorbed.
Using turpentine, the drawing material is now removed, leaving behind the salt layer which holds the traces of the original design. When you have to print, wet the stone with water and apply ink on the surface. Pass this combination of paper and stone through the press, which transfers the ink onto the paper and results in beautiful, clear printouts.
Over the years, many improvements have been done to this basic lithographic process to attain a higher level of commercial proficiency. In the US, various industries have been established which involve lithographic printing of things like letterheads, labels and other high-demand stationery items.
People in the printing business consider the lithographic printing process an excellent method for printing text and illustrations. With the application of this innovative process you can get over 1,000,000 impressions at a time of short and medium lengths. Besides printing newspapers and books, firms in the printing business can use lithographic printing for general commercial printing, quick printing and printing of business forms and legal documents.