Fine Print: The History of Digital Printing

Digital printing is the process of printing images by using lasers and inkjet printing. This type of printing is commonly used for commercial printing, where users originally find media online and are printed on physical materials. 

As the digital successor to traditional printing methods, digital printing provides users with an easy and more convenient printing experience. You can produce high-quality materials from an online source with a few buttons. Product packaging is accessible and time-efficient thanks to the reliable digital printing service.  

A global endeavor to address the world’s sustainability challenges is the implementation of a circular economy, as sustainability gains relevance in today’s economy. Businesses are now encouraged to think more carefully about their packaging, such as folding carton boxes, as a result of this collective transformation. 

Many firms, regardless of their size, age, or power within their respective industry, are starting to make minor adjustments to the way they manufacture and distribute their goods. The packaging of their products is one of their main changes.

History of Digital Printing

Printing has been around for centuries and has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The earliest recorded history of printing dates back to the late 1430s, with Johannes Gutenberg inventing the manual printing press for the mass production of books. This invention has remained necessary for printing projects, such as newspaper and literary publications. 

From lithography, which used flat stone, metal plates, and ink to print text, to rotary presses, which became the successor to the flatbed press, the printing machine saw various improvements and innovations over the years.  

Digital Printing of Today

Today, printers are more technologically advanced but maintain the general framework their predecessors established. Common printing strategies used today include:

  • Inkjet

This strategy involves print heads that release small ink droplets onto a surface, usually on paper, so there are no streaks. 

  • Laser

Lasers transfer your design to a metal drum that rolls toner on your medium. Heat is then applied to the toner so your design sticks properly onto the paper. 

  • Solid Ink

Instead of liquid ink, this process uses a special printer and wax resin, which is heated and directly applied to printing materials during a print job.

  • Dye Sublimation

For jobs requiring transferring onto fabrics and similar materials, dye sublimation uses heat to transfer ink to the desired surface. Once heated, the ink becomes a gas, permeating the fabric’s fibers and creating the desired product.

Printing Trends to Keep an Eye on

Change is everywhere, and the printing industry is no exception. In our short list below, you’ll find some of the latest printing trends that can make a splash in the years to come.

  • Eco-friendly print

Climate change is an increasingly important topic; this causes concern for consumers as they become more conscious about what they buy. Digital printing is unique because it uses less energy and produces less waste.

  • 3D printing

3D printing can use plastic and similar materials as an ink substitute to create layered physical or layered objects. 

  • Cloud printing

With cloud technology becoming more prevalent across different industries, it was only a matter of time before it extended to the printing sector. Users can use their mobile phones to connect to cloud servers directly linked to printers.

  • Guaranteed safety and privacy

Printing companies began adjusting their practices to protect confidential information and stop using printed materials illegally.

  • Additional personalization choices

Custom goods for personal and professional usage are becoming increasingly in demand.

  • Increased emphasis on adding value

Extra features on packaging help products stand out, draw in customers, and satisfy them. 

The Fine Print

With the printing industry making significant improvements over the years, it still has a long way to go to adapt to the current times. For convenience, ease of use, and time efficiency, digital printing is certainly still the way forward. If you’d like a more in-depth discussion on the history of digital printing, refer to the infographic below! 

Meyers Printing Infographic - The History of Digital Printing: A Comprehensive Timeline

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