Monochrome printing, using only black and white, was widely in use before lithography and other techniques made color printing more popular. Color printing became all the rage in the 19th century when a number of techniques were started in Europe that achieved almost instant success. Prior to the development of these methods much of the coloring in maps and catalogues, books and other written material was hand colored. Primitive woodcut techniques were used in the early 16th century but this early technique was never as commercially successful as the later more developed Chromoxlography using woodcut. The extensive use of coloring methods made illustrations in books, reproductions and advertising reach greater levels of acceptance. The use of lithography was initially developed as a cheap way to reproduce artwork but was later converted into lithographic printing press in England in the late 19th century. With the development of photography, these nascent companies lost business and had to fold. Modern methods of color printing are much preferred commercially over monochrome as use of color creates the visual impact required for advertising. Color printing can be manipulated and enhanced to make the image more impressive and eye catching.

The modern usage of offset printing uses lithography techniques to produce multiple copies of high quality prints at cost-effective prices and with little maintenance. Most printed material uses this method to produce color printing, including magazines, newspapers, brochures, stationery and books. Offset printing is cheap, produces large volumes of very high image quality. Moreover, the printing plates can be produced easily and the plates also last longer.

Digital printing uses volume laser or inkjet printers for printing in high volume and in larger format. The higher costs for digital reproduction are compensated by the requirement for fewer technical steps to accomplish the end product. The process requires short turn around, enables the modification of the image with each impression and allows for savings in labor. Digital color printing is becoming the favored technique as it has wide application in desktop publishing, in marketing for outdoor banner advertising, photos, for customized print on demand and for mass personalization of printed materials. Improvement in latest technologies has made prints from the digital method almost as good in quality as the offset method. Some service providers offer both types of technologies side by side to produce the benefits of high quality together with quick turnaround. The best way to accomplish your bulk loads is to use both technologies for color printing. Irvine residents can expect good quality and quick turnaround at local print stores.