What is printing? A print is a representation of an image, created on a surface and transferred to another surface using a printing press. There are multiple impressions possible depending on the process and materials used. The number of good impressions is usually limited, but the number is artificially reduced for commercial reasons. A print is not the original work of art. A print is an image or design that has been reproduced. The process of printing varies from one artist to the next.
The printing process began in Europe in the fifteenth century, though the principle of it had been used in the Orient for much longer. The development of a European alphabet based on a limited set of abstract symbols simplified the problems of movable type manufacturing. In contrast, the handwriting of the Chinese required 80,000 symbols, which was prohibitively difficult to reproduce in a printed form. It also did not lend itself well to typography. Nevertheless, printing was a major advancement in the world’s history.
Although many information storage devices have become popular, the fact remains that the use of print is still necessary. Print provides the most direct means of accessing information, unlike information stored on electronic devices. Electronic calculators, for example, typically come with a mechanism for printing results. Regardless of the advancements in electronic devices, printing may not entirely disappear, but it will likely evolve alongside these information storage systems. In the meantime, however, the printing industry will continue to grow, as will the demand for printed materials.