The History of the Modern Print
Have you ever looked at a newsletter or catalogue and wondered what printing processes went into them? These types of marketing materials are immensely popular, and the history of print dates back thousands of years. Many people have a basic understanding of colour printing and digital print, but that's where it stops.
There is enough history to fill several books, and it's soaked with drama and social upheaval. Today's modern printing processes are cutting edge, but they've always been ahead of their time. We'll recap the evolution of print below.
Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press's Early History
Although many people think the Gutenberg press was the start of the printing industry, it actually goes back thousands of years to the third century. Very early printing utilised wooden blocks with etching that transferred images onto cloth or paper. Asia used this method to create textile patterns and Buddhist texts, and Japan rose to fame for woodblock art prints.
China came up with the movable type system. The rotary system started as wood, then clay and Korean metal. This system helped the typesetters process and sort the metal pieces at a much quicker rate. In turn, they could turn out more pages per day to speed up their printing system.
In the 1440s, Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press and sent it out all over the world. He created the famous Gutenberg Bible with it, and there are 22 still in existence. By 1500, most of Western Europe had rotary presses. They were essential to social events.
The 1790s brought a printing method called lithography. You can still see lithography in maps and posters. Lithography also brought about the idea of using chemical processes during printing. This method was dominant until the 1800s and early 1900s when offset printing gained popularity. Offset printing transfers an inked image from a plate to a rubber blanket to a paper. It uses oil and water repulsion to give you clear results.
The Evolution of Print
Printing continued to improve and evolve with offset printing. The machine pre-presses any area where it'll eventually put an image before formatting them into plates. All the images follow the CMYK colour model that lets you get an accurate colour representation in the final product. One colour goes on each of the plates before it's put into the press to print the final image.
One of the newest printing presses is the H-UV press. It uses ultraviolet light to dry the ink instantly for faster turnaround time. It can run up to 16,000 sheets per hour, and you can work with them immediately.
Digital printing is currently the most advanced printing press available. It doesn&t use printing plates, and you typically use it with Inkjet printers or laser printers. These printers put pigments onto different surfaces, and it can change graphics between projects. This is useful for screen printing. You get a higher level of precision with each project you put out to give you a clean and neat product.
3D printing is also gaining popularity. It allows you to create objects with very limited space available. The food manufacturing industry, textile industry and medical industry all utilise it to create products. As printing continues to evolve, people will find more uses for them. 3D printing will keep getting more popular and accessible to people as time goes on.
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