Traditionally, printing refers to the process of mass reproducing texts or images on paper or other durable surfaces. It includes everything from maps and brochures to shopping bags and stickers.
Printing has helped to engender radio, film, tape recording, and television. It has helped to shape social changes brought about by industrial development. It has also kept a quasi-monopoly on information storage and transmission.
The first printing press, invented by Johann Gutenberg in 1440, spread quickly in Europe. Within 30 years, towns and cities across Europe had working printing presses. This revolution changed the nature of printing and allowed for the mass production of books. Thousands of copies of books could be printed at one time.
Printing is a very important part of paper-based publishing. It is used for T-shirts, posters on walls, business cards, shopping bags, and folders. There are a variety of techniques used for printing, including flexography, offset lithography, gravure, and relief. Some of the popular forms of printing work by heat, while others work by static electricity.
Before Gutenberg’s invention, books were printed one at a time. In China, Bi Sheng invented a process of printing using movable type. The movable type was made from a hardened clay. It could be detached from an iron plate, and could be used anywhere.
Movable type was a huge change in the way printing worked. It allowed the creator of the print run to re-use the lead of the print run, re-melt it, and use it for the next composition process.