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On Print Industry: is it dead, really?

“Printing is essential to all education, all the other arts rely on it, religious movements depend on it, business could not function without it, nor could government.” ­ Arthur P. Twogood

We are made of books, of ink, of printed words, of lines drawn to every page that made us to who we are today. Print has always been part of our daily life from books, newspapers, billboards, magazines, packaging ­ informing us, reminding us ­ a single page at a time.

However, in the vast technological advancements we have today, where we experience a revolution in the way we exchange information as the internet takes the world by storm, one might think that print is dead. Still, the print industry is not suffering at all, it is in fact rapidly evolving together with the technology that we have today.

From woodblock printing of China in 618 A.D., to Guttenberg Printing press, to offset lithography, and inkjet printers ­ the print industry has indeed progressed and further developed through the course of time. The technology, the internet and anything electronic is immensely advancing, but so does the print industry.

Various printing machines for different processes were invented and are still continuously being developed in this industry.  Also, more printing techniques are currently progressing for specific desired applications. To list down a few of the most and widely used printing processes:

  1. Letterpress

It is the original process done by Johannes Gutenberg, it is the former standard of printing process, although it is now more advanced than the original press. Now, letterpress is used mostly for specialty work like fine art prints, books and posters.

  1. Offset

Offset lithography or most commonly known as offset printing is a process that allows publishers to print in high­ quantity for a shorter time period. In offset lithography, an aluminum plate containing the image of the content that is to be printed is then to be inked, and is subsequently transferred to a rubber blanket then into the printing surface. This process maybe used to print on paper, plastic or other materials that have a flat surface.

  1. Flexography

Flexography is mainly used for packaging and labels like corrugated containers, folding containers, Multiwall sacks, plastic bags, milk and beverage cartons, disposable cups and containers, adhesive tapes, envelopes, newspapers, and candy or food wrappers.

  1. Gravure

Gravure is used mostly for high volume works such as newspapers, magazines, food packaging, wallpaper, wrapping paper and greeting cards. In this process, the image is engraved into a printing cylinder, then inked and is subsequently transferred onto paper.

  1. Digital Printing

With digital printing, there’s no longer a need to replace printing plates or cylinders, unlike offset, letterpress, flexography, and gravure printing. Digital printing may be done in various ways, but the most popular method includes inkjet and laser printers that deposit pigment or toner to a substrate. This process may be applied to paper, photo paper, canvas and other materials.

  1. Screen Printing

This is a process wherein a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas that are non­ permeable to ink by a blocking stencil. The ink can adhere to a wide range of materials such as paper, textiles, glass, ceramics, wood and metal.

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