Printing is an art of creating a picture or text on a flat surface. Traditionally, this is defined as applying a colouring agent under pressure to reproduce an illustration or black and white text on a durable surface.
During the late 17th century, color printing was introduced. A printer could produce more than a hundred impressions an hour, which changed the way books were produced. This facilitated the distribution of information, especially the spread of literacy.
The invention of printing was a part of the Industrial Revolution, a period of rapid social and technological change. Unlike previous printing techniques, it did not depend on a material concept for its colouring agent.
In Europe, printing first developed in the 15th century. Movable type was invented by Johann Gutenberg. He used a small clay block to make the movable types. These were then glued to an iron plate. Once the movable type was assembled, it was ready to be printed on a page.
Movable type had many benefits. It was cheaper than the previous typewriter-like machines. Furthermore, it could be easily detached from the iron plate, allowing it to be used anywhere.
Printing is also a process that has enabled the creation of television and film. Microfilm, punch tapes, and other similar devices preserve a large volume of information in a very small space.
Until recently, printing was limited to a single material. It was used for maps, business cards, brochures, and other forms of advertising. However, new audiovisual media are challenging traditional forms of printing. Some observers believe that printing will eventually disappear.