Printing is the production of an image or text on paper. Printed works include books, catalogs, brochures, leaflets, business cards, and shopping bags. Often, printing is done as a large-scale industrial process, but it can also be done as a small-scale process.

In printing, ink is applied to paper and then transferred to the paper by the use of an ink roller. This process usually involves ink jet printers, but can be used by other methods. Generally, digital printing is cheaper than other types of printing. Unlike other methods, digital printing does not require plates.

Throughout history, movable type has changed the nature of printing. Before the movable type, printed text was usually based on hard-pressed clay. These types of manuscripts often emphasized the images rather than the texts. During the Song Dynasty in China, movable type was introduced, which helped spur scholarly pursuits. But movable type was not widely used in China until European-style printing press was introduced in relatively recent times.

Movable type has allowed more creative modes of printing. For example, a compositor could create a page using several different colors of movable type. It was also possible to separate a movable type and then redistribute it to another part of the page. Some early personal computer printers also incorporated impact printing.

The first printed book was created in Shu in the ninth century. It contained religious texts and Chinese classics. It also included Buddhist scriptures and mathematics texts. Eventually, these books were sold to private dealers and printed books were a common form of education. Several Chinese libraries held tens of thousands of printed books.

Early “journeyman printers” were free to print wherever they went. They often set type and ran the presses. After apprenticeship, they were able to travel through Europe. Other countries, including Japan, had their own methods of printing.

During the nineteenth century, the invention of the printing press in the United States changed the face of printing. These machines were capable of producing hundreds of copies of books per hour. At one point, they were so popular that the Koenig and Bauer company had two of their models printed the first edition of the Times in London in 1814.

Today, most of the world’s offices have extensive printing networks. Most of the offices use laser printers and ink jet printers. Laser printers are mainly used for transactional printing, while ink jet printers are more used for small print runs.

There are five primary forms of printing: intaglio, flexography, relief, offset lithography, and screenprinting. Each of these processes differs in how the image is transferred to the substrate. Different processes may produce high-quality, accurate reproductions of colors, but they don’t offer the same range of material options and aren’t always as effective as other types of printing.

Depending on the type of ink and the amount of ink required, each color can be printed on a separate plate. If metallic inks are used, additional plates may be necessary. Whether a particular type of printing method is used depends on the nature of the text, the size of the finished product, and the number of copies required.