We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Do Lithographers Do?

By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Updated Jan 31, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lithographers are responsible for transferring images onto metal plates. They are able to do this with basic chemical principles. Publishers use the metal plates lithographers develop to transfer text or graphics to paper in the modern printing process.

To begin the lithography process, skilled photographers take pictures of the text or graphics to be reproduced in printing. They develop negatives of each photograph they take. Lithographic artists touch up these negatives as necessary. Once the lithographer has the negatives, he can start the plate making process.

The first thing lithographers do is coat the metal plate with a solution that is highly sensitive to light. They then position the negative on the treated plate. The lithographer then exposes the negative to ultraviolet light. This transfers the image on the negative to the plate.

Once lithographers have the image they need on the plate, they treat the plate with additional chemicals. These chemicals get rid of the areas that were unexposed and which don't contain part of the transferred image. Some plates do not require this chemical processing due to technological advances.

Some specialized lithographers, known as routers, manually remove any metal on the plates that chemical processing doesn't remove. Other lithographers, known as finishers, change the darkness or lightness of the images in order to get the best quality duplicate during printing. After these lithographers complete their work, the plate is ready to use.

To use a lithograph plate, lithographers and publishers coat the original plate with water. The water sticks to the area of the plate that is not part of the image due to the chemical processing. The publishers and lithographers follow this with a thin coat of oil-based ink. Oil and water molecules do not like to bind and repel each other. As a result, the ink gets pushed to the area of the plate that has the image.

Following the inking of the plate, the lithographer rolls a rubber cylinder over it. The rubber cylinder squeezes away the water but picks up the ink. The cylinder is what rolls over the paper or other medium on which the image needs to be placed.

A problem with lithography is that computers have made it possible to reproduce images without any plates at all. Lithography jobs have become less prevalent as a result. Those interested in lithography must stay abreast of technological advances to be hired and maintain a career.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.