Printing is the process of reproducing text and images by applying a material under pressure on a durable surface. The term is most commonly used for paper-based printing, but also refers to other forms of media such as cloth, metal, ceramics and more.
The earliest forms of printing are cylinder seals and other objects that had been carved in relief onto clay plates. Later, the invention of movable type by Bi Sheng in 1040 AD made it possible to print text without using lead and ink on a press.
Printed books appeared in Shu (modern Szechuan province) in the ninth century and soon spread across China. These included Confucian classics, Buddhist scriptures, dictionaries and mathematics texts.
A print is an image made from a matrix (such as an intaglio plate, relief woodblock, lithographic stone, serigraphic silkscreen, or metal plate for offset press) capable of producing a certain number of like images. It is usually in a small and limited edition, and may be printed on paper or other materials such as cloth, metal or ceramics.
Digital prints from online photo services are affordable and often available in a day or two. The best shops will pack your photos securely to avoid damage in transit.
The library on your college campus is another great option for printing documents. Many schools give their students a printing quota that they can use to print whatever they need at a very low cost.
It’s also easy to make physical prints from your phone, using an app or a portable printer while you’re on the go.