How Pressruns Work

In an offset printing run, which is the complete process of proofreading, finalizing, and producing a printed work, a pressrun is the stage of the printing process where the actual printing is done. The pressrun process, of course, happens for many different types of works, including newspapers, books, novels, and professional works that are to be distributed on a large scale. In almost every case, the printing process is performed using a special variation of paper chosen based on what is being printed. During a pressrun, a machine feeds this paper into a printing machine as one large piece. Once everything is printed, the machine will cut the publication to the right dimensions.

Directly before the pressrun process is the prepress stage. During the prepress stage, editors approve the design, layout, and fact-check content. This is done to ensure a clean pressrun stage. Additionally, in most cases, a proof of the final work, which is just a test print of the final product, will be printed to assess the work's presentation and layout.

In most offset runs, following the pressrun comes what is known as the bindery and finishing process. During this stage of the printing process, the papers from the pressrun stage are cut, organized, and compiled so people can read the publication in the correct order. The bindery and finishing process is essential in preparing the paper for distribution.

Pressrun Example

You’re in charge of the printing process at a newspaper for one day. At this newspaper firm, they use the offset printing run process, and the boss tells you to follow the steps of the process. Before you can actually start printing, though, you need content. The writers at the newspaper firm determine what they want to write about, reporters go out, collect information, and write articles on these stories, and, after, the written portion is proofread and approved. At the same time, photographers take pictures to add to the newspaper, and the editor-in-chief chooses the best ones.

Now you’re in the main part of the printing process. Department editors finalize the newspaper's layout, where stories and pictures should go, and how much space each blurb should take. The prepress stage ensures that the desired layout looks good with the first proof of the newspaper. With a few touch-ups, the layout now goes to the pressrun stage. It’s time to start printing copies.

A continuous roll of newsprint paper, the paper used to print newspapers, is loaded into the printing machine, and the newspapers are printed out one after another. Since you’re in a big city, you'll need thousands of copies of this newspaper. The printing press will be print the copies before the bindery and finishing stage. The machine will cut the paper to the right dimensions. For newspapers, the avergae size is 15" x 22 3/4".