Dampening refers to the process of applying a thin layer of moisture to the printing plate during offset printing. This moisture helps to keep non-image areas of the plate free from ink, ensuring that only the image areas receive ink. Proper dampening is crucial for achieving clean, high-quality prints without ink smudges or unwanted marks.




  1. Offset Printing: In offset lithography, the dampening system applies a consistent layer of water-based solution to the non-image areas of the plate, preventing ink from adhering to those parts and ensuring sharp, clear prints.
  2. Newspaper Printing: High-speed newspaper presses use advanced dampening systems to maintain print quality over long runs, ensuring that each page is free from ink smears and blurring.
  3. Magazine Printing: For high-quality magazine production, precise dampening is essential to keep colors vibrant and images crisp, without any unwanted ink transfer to non-image areas.


  • Regular Maintenance: Keep the dampening system well-maintained and clean to ensure consistent application of the dampening solution and prevent issues such as over-dampening or under-dampening.
  • Proper Balance: Achieve the right balance between ink and water to avoid common printing problems like scumming (ink on non-image areas) or emulsification (excessive water in the ink).
  • Monitor Solution Quality: Use high-quality dampening solutions and regularly check their pH levels and conductivity to maintain optimal printing conditions.

To learn more about this or other print industry terms, contact our team at AP&B today!