What is the process of Printing?

Printing is the process of making many copies of a document or a picture. Printing is normally done on paper, but it can also be done on fabrics, and sheets of plastic or metal. Books are printed on a machine called a printing press. The text and pictures start as patterns on a plate. In the press, the plate is inked so that these areas become ink-covered, and are pressed on to the paper via a rubber-covered drum. A fast printing press can make several prints a second because each print is made by one simple operation.

One of the first methods of printing was wood-block printing; where the images to be printed were carved in reverse into wooden blocks. The blocks were then inked and pressed onto paper to make a print. Ink from the raised areas was transferred on to the paper. Simple block printing is still used for hand-printed textiles.

In an early printing press a screw was turned to press the paper firmly down on to inked type.

Two of the most important inventions in printing were moveable metal type (which allowed words and paragraphs to be built up from individual metal blocks with letters on them) and the printing press. In Europe, these were both developed in the fifteenth century by the German printing pioneer Johannes Gutenberg. They allowed books to be printed in large quantities, whereas before each book had to be hand-copied.

On a printed colour page, the text is normally solid black ink, while the pictures are made up of tiny dots of coloured – and black – ink.

Most colour printing is done with just four colours of ink: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. By printing dots in varying sizes, the first three colours combine to create almost any other colour. In practice, all three mixes to create brown, so black is used to darken some areas.

In a modern printing press, printing is carried out using a sheet of metal called a printing plate, rather than with individual blocks of type. The shape of the letters that make up the text, together with the dots that make up the pictures, appear as patterns on the surface of the plate. The plates are prepared using photographic and chemical processes.

Type and pictures for a book, magazine or leaflet are nowadays usually designed and laid out on a computer using desktop publishing software. The files from the computer may then be sent to the printer, which uses them to make four printing plates, one for each colour of ink on the printing press.

For most publications, the paper needs to be printed on both sides. Some presses can do this but on others the paper has to be sent through the press twice. Several pages of the final book or magazine are normally printed on each sheet of paper. The sheets then go for print finishing, where machines fold, collate (sort), staple or sew, and trim the sheets to create the finished product.

Picture Credit : Google