Printing is a process of reproducing text, illustrations, and colour on paper or other durable surface. It is the first step in the production of many different products, from books and magazines to stickers and wallpaper.
The term printing is derived from the Latin word “printa”, which means “to print”. In modern languages, the term “print” is also used to refer to the process of making a hard copy of electronic data.
Traditionally, printing is defined as the application of a colouring agent under pressure to an image or illustration. However, modern processes are not dependent on the mechanical concept of pressure.
While printing was traditionally used for reproduction of texts, it has expanded to include the mass production of images, and it has helped shape social changes in the process. It has also contributed to the assimilation of knowledge and the dissemination of information.
Some of the earliest non-paper products with printing are cylinder seals, such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus. Other types of prints include relief, gravure, and planographic printing. These types of prints use raised or etched areas on a plane surface, as well as non-printing areas below.
In the 15th century, printing was a huge phenomenon in Europe. Gutenberg was a celebrated German printer, and his invention of the printing press allowed books to be reproduced in large numbers. Initially, books were copied one at a time, but the printing press enabled books to be reproduced in thousands.