Printing Techniques and Processes

We’ve moved quite a bit since the Gutenberg’s marvelous invention of the printed word. While the movable press had boosted the literacy in common folk and caused the book production in general to skyrocket manifold, over the course of the last and the current century, printing has been made completely user-friendly and cheap. It is therefore safe to say that printing processes have progressed tremendously both in speed and availability. Not all of these processes are identical, however and the many types differ in quality, quantity, speed and accuracy. Here are some of them.

Letterpress

To begin with the progenitor of them all, lo and behold, the world-famous letterpress! Although the principle remains the same, this printing process has undergone a lot of improvement. Nowadays, the image that’s being printed is higher than the surface of the plate, in comparison to Gutenberg’s prototype of over half a millennium ago. These days, the letterpress uses photopolymer plates to translate a digital print into the mentioned raised plate. Despite all the improvements this process has experienced, and even though it’s reliable and flexible, the letterpress is becoming more obsolete by the day. Nowadays, the majority of its usage is traditional.

Engraving

Definitively among the most expensive of printing techniques and somewhat time consuming, this printing technique is used sparingly, both with paper and words. Used typically for high-end business cards and fancy invitations, the end product of engraving is a beautiful sight to see. Let’s go through a quick rundown of the process:

Carved (by hand or machine) onto a metal plate, the spaces on the engraved images are filled with ink. Then, the paper (usually thicker) is pressed on top of the plate and the process is done. Raised, precise and crisp images are created and colors are used to bring out the contrast.

One of the examples of wider usage with more paper and letters per copy is when books and documents are printed in braille, for those that are visually impaired.

Digital Printing

One of the most popular printing process of today, this one has a wide array of functions. If you aim to print images, this is definitely the way to go. Excelling at both speed and quality, it is the most favored by the common user. Using toner cartridges, this process does not include plates and requires less manpower to see it through. However, as it usually goes, quality breathes hefty amounts of cash. This is owing to the ink and paper used by a digital printer. Troubles that plague this process are that of color as sometimes they tend to differ to the ones on the computer screen. Still, digital printing remains among the most popular printing processes of today.

Inkjet

This process is common in many households, as it’s both affordable and user-friendly. Digitally communicating with your home computer, the Inkjet printer sprays ink onto paper, producing richly saturated colors. Though it’s limited to small print runs and isn’t designed for use based on quantity, the size of the device and the fact that it’s really easy to use have crowned this printing process, without a doubt, the most popular one.

Printing has moved a long way since its point of origin, but, in truth, the original principle is still in use in some processes, to this very day. Even if this wasn’t the case, the famous Guttenberg’s invention should not be forgotten. There are many types of printers, depending on your needs and finance, and even in this age when the use of paper is dwindling, some hardcore bookworms remain true to the tradition of having a hardcopy of a book in hand, instead of a tablet or the like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.