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The Past, The Present, and The Future of Commercial Printing

Printing Press

Printing planted its seed centuries ago but with the advancements commercial printers have incorporated, print has become even more crucial for successful marketing.

Understanding what commercial printing has to offer now, where it began and what it’s advancing into, will help you better understand your options.

Early History of the Printing Press

The reality is that the history of the printing press is filled with enough drama that a movie could be made about it!

Printing has evolved so much over the centuries starting all the way back to ancient civilizations in Asia where they used woodblocks to print images and text onto materials. A movable type system was then created in China which changed how fast text could be printed. Characters were made of wood, then clay, and then in Korea, metal movable type was developed.

Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440’s invented the printing press which led to the beginning of mass communication, changing the structure of society. Presses were then spread throughout Western Europe and became critical for events and the rise in literacy.

The printing method of Lithography began in the late 1790’s and used chemical processes to print. This led to current methods of offset printing. Offset printing developed from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s and is still to this day one of the main printing methods used by commercial printers.

Commercial Printing Now

Printing has come a long way since wooden blocks. With the technology in today’s world, printers like Kingston Printing have advanced the way of thinking when it comes to print. With green printing, automated print options including ordering portals, and personalization capabilities with Variable Data Printing, the road to advance even further has been paved.

Offset Printing

offset printing services diagram. 

Technology has advanced offset printing to become what it is today. Offset printing is most commonly used for large printing needs and almost every commercial printer has some sort of offset printing.

The process begins with prepress where images that will be printed are formatted onto a metal plate using CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black)) color model so colors can by accurately represented on the final product. Images are transferred from the metal plates to a rubber blanket and then transferred on to paper.

Because of the efficient capabilities of offset printing, accurate color reproduction and crisp images provide for professional looking prints.

Digital Printing


The digital press does not require printing plates allowing for on-demand printing and shorter turnaround times. Inkjet and laser printers are commonly used in digital printing which place pigment onto a number of different surfaces, rather than just smooth paper.

In addition to being able to print onto more than just paper, digital printing allows for text and graphics to be changed from one piece to another piece using variable data printing. This is often used in postal mailers where the same basic layout is used but a different name, address, or image is placed on each piece. The ability to personalize printed materials without having to adjust plates on a press reduces production time.

The Future of Commercial Printing

As technology continues to move forward at a rapid speed, the printing industry continues to incorporate it into printing presses and to create printing solutions that are changing the way that things are produced and used.

With print and direct mail marketing channels advancing and thriving year after year it's hard to say exactly where commercial printing will be in the future. Will 3D printing be the new norm for marketers? Will there be new printing services to adhere to the needs of consumers? Or maybe there will be a new way to print.

What is for certain, is that the printing industry will keep improving and delivering new ways to enhance printing services.

Contact us to get started on your print marketing project today!

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