Printing Techniques Report


There are various uses of printing techniques that are used through out the media industry for products such as books, newspapers, magazines and packaging to name a few. There are three main printing methods that are used, of which I will be exploring throughout my report. These are hand-printing, mechanical-printing and digital- printing. Printing is the indirect transfer of




Hand Printing is a method that has been used for centuries and is the first of the printing methods, these are done by hand and can be time consuming.

There are two popular methods of hand printing, these are Relief Printing and Screen Printing,

Relief Printing is when an artist outlines their image onto a surface and then proceed to cut away pieces leaving a raised image, ink is then put on the surface with a roller and pressed against paper. Therefore the cutaway pieces are white on the paper whilst the raised image is in colour. This creates a strong dark/light contrast on the paper. This can be used using various materials for example Lino.

Another method is screen printing, these have been used to create many famous pieces of art. This is one of the oldest hand printing methods, this is based on layering a number of stencilled areas onto a surface. This method started as a commercial process to make posters and print onto fabric, however, nowadays artists tend to use screen printing to create work that is brightly coloured. Screen printing is done by exposing an image onto treated nylon mesh (it did used to be silk), then areas that will accept the ink are washed out or you can create a cut out on paper to stick to a frame. Then by using a squeegee to push the ink through the nylon, the image is printed onto the paper. This method does not require the use of a press as it can be done by hand.


Mechanical Printing:

Another method of printing is mechanical printing, this is a method of printing that requires a machine to complete the print rather than doing it by hand. This can be used for reproducing images in books and magazines. Most, however, need a halftone of the photographic image, as the different tones in the photos are represented by lots of different sized dots.

One method of mechanical printing is the Letter Press. This is one of the original techniques for printing newspapers. This is done by the letterpress print surface holds the image of which is to be printed above the non-printing background. Then the raised surfaces is inked by rollers which leads to the paper being pressed against the printing plate to make the image. This method was used until the late 1960’s.

Another example of mechanical printing is Gravure Printing, this is used for long run high quality printing, this is done with an engraved cylinder. Gravure printing is used for postage stamps, banknotes, wallpaper and wrapping paper. A huge roll of paper is used to print on, however this equipment can be very expensive but it will last a long time. It can make a lot of impressions without the equipment degrading.

This type of printing method would be used if a large quantity of boxes were needed for my design if the Delish box was to be printed, for example 10,000. As a digital printer would take too long. Digital would also cost more to print these designs with is why mechanical printing would be more beneficial as well as cost effective.

Digital Printing:

Digital printing is a process where the print is taken from a digital based image, this method is usually for professional printing. This method however, has a higher cost but it does avoid the cost and time of creating a machine for mechanical printing. There are two main methods of creating a digital print.

The first is Inkjet, this uses a dye based ink which can be applied to both smooth or high textured materials, this includes water-colour paper and other types of canvases.

The second is Laser. This method involves images being exposed onto light sensitive photographic paper using lasers. These images are then true photos and then have a continuous tone. The quality of these prints are very high.



When creating a product, there are many different finishings that can be used in order to increase the quality of the finished product. One example of a finishing is De-bossing.

De-bossed is a when a product has an indent of the cover to create a design.

Another finishing technique is a laminate and UV coating. If a book cover is to be covered with heavy ink coverage, then the use a UV coating for protection is considered. It adheres to better solid ink coverage than a liquid laminate or a film laminate. However if the cover design involves minimal ink coverage, then a liquid or film laminate would be used as it is more durable than UV coating.

There are also different ways of binding which can also contribute to the quality of the product. Below is a list of different binding styles. The type of product that is being created can also influence the type of binding used. For example, a hardback fiction book would use a comb binding while a information booklet would use a saddle stitch.

žComb Binding

žCase Binding

žDouble Loop Wire

žLay Flat Bind

žPerfect Binding

žPost Bind

žSaddle Stitch

žThermal Binding

Each Printing technique and finishing have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, hand printing techniques are useful because they can create a high quality products. However a disadvantage is that the technique can be time consuming and costly in materials as you would have to buy new materials each time after each use. Another technique is mechanical printing, this is an advantage as it is less time consuming as hand printing as well as being reliable. Mechanical Printing is also long lasting as the materials can be used more than once, this means that it is more cost effective. A disadvantage is that the method is laborious to use as they are still made by hand but using a press to do the work. Finally, digital printing also has its advantages, such as that it creates a high quality product that can be printed onto many different mediums of different textures without sacrificing quality. However, a disadvantage is that the running of the machines and the cost of ink can become expensive and isn’t cost effective in the short term, however it can become so in the long term.

In relation to the brief I have received from Lorraine, I have experimented with various printing techniques to find one of which I would feel comfortable using for the brief. I have experimented mainly with hand printing techniques such as relief printing and screen printing. I found that despite using these techniques, it would be difficult to incorporate into my designs as they are very detailed, and so I experimented with digital printing, specifically inkjet. therefore, I have chosen to go with digital printing. This is due to the ease of being able to print my design, as well as being able to keep it safe as the print would be on a memory stick or computer before being printed.


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