Printing has been around for centuries, whether using stamps to put pictures on clay pottery or creating entire books by hand. Printing is a method of producing copies of an original work. At first glance, printing can sometimes be seen as a thing of the past.
However, there are a wide variety of uses for printing today – from something on a smaller scale like printing what you need in an office setting to a larger scale like printing political fliers during elections. All that said, there are some key things you should know about the way printing works in the 21st century.
1. Technological Advancements
With the rise of computers, printing works have changed drastically. Even though there are different types of printers that work using all kinds of other technologies, even more precisely than just one type of printer, generally speaking, every single modern-day printer is best described as a computer peripheral device.
This means that essentially your home or office printer can be thought of as an already-existing computer peripheral that you can use, and in fact, most printers come with software already installed on them.
Unlike in the early days of printing, where most mistakes were caught only after everything was already printed, today there are plenty of reliable print inspection solutions that ensure you can see everything exactly how it’s going to look once printed – before it’s done. Advanced software is used to generate the image and point out potential oversights and even lets you control the color scheme to the T.
The key thing to remember about modern-day printing is that it all requires some kind of third-party software to take an electronic file (usually a pdf) and run it through the printer. This is important because it means that to print an electronic document, you need to have some software installed on your computer already – this may also come with the printer itself.
2. Printing Terminology
The two most important terms associated with printing today are resolution and color depth. The resolution, in general, refers to how many pixels can be printed per inch – or dpi (dots per inch).
The higher the resolution number is for a print, the sharper it will come out. Color depth means just that – how many colors does your printer have access to. In reality, most printers today work with four types of color: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK).
Like the color theory states, each of these colors can be mixed to create more complex colors. Even though there are other color combinations that your printer may have access to if it has advanced graphics capabilities – most standard printers will use this CMYK combination.
3. Specialty Prints And Customization
When you hear people talking about specialty prints, it can be unclear, mainly because its meaning is different for every industry. In general, when someone says that something is a specialty print, it means that it has been explicitly printed to meet a specific need – whether this is an unusual size or something particular like a plastic ID card (PVC cards and ID badges), or a custom-sized banner for an event.
While it may seem like the only thing you can do with specialty prints is to print them yourself, there are plenty of companies that offer these types of services – whether they’re printing specialty items as part of their standard package or they’re running a specialty printing company. As for customization, this is simply the ability to change the color, font, or layout of what’s already been designed.
Even though it sounds like something that would only be important for commercial printing, the reality is that these days you can find plenty of software and online platforms that allow you to custom design nearly everything – from business cards and flyers to websites and much more. The ability to customize your printing isn’t just important for when you want to make a statement – it also provides an excellent way to take advantage of bulk printing services.
4. Importance Of Paper
When it comes to any kind of printing, there’s one thing you should never forget – the type of paper chosen will impact the final product. Paperweight refers to how thick or thin a piece of paper is, and this comes in all different weights for various purposes.
The most common weights are a 24-pound bond, 28-pound bond, and cover stock – with the different numbers representing how many pages a ream of that weight can print. Generally speaking, heavier paper is used for books and magazines because of its durability and ability to stand up under repeated use.
Apart from the weight, the paper also comes in different finishes, which will change how it responds to a printer. The most common finishes are matte, satin, gloss, and glossy – with glossy being the only finish considered high-gloss. Depending on what’s best for your needs, you can find paper in all of these finishes.
As you can see, the printing industry in the 21st century continues to evolve. From new software, different paper types and weights, to new and unique ways of customizing existing products – it’s clear that there’s always something new in terms of technology being developed for this field.