Printing is the process of producing text or images on paper, or other media, using ink and a printing press. It is an essential part of the paper-based publishing and transaction industry, as well as an important process in photography.

Historically, printing has been a very complex and expensive process. Today, however, with the advancement of digital technology and innovations in the printing process, it has become much more accessible and affordable.

Online printing

There are many online printing services that allow you to order a print from your computer and have it delivered in a couple of days. They are very convenient for people who need a print quickly but don’t have the time or resources to get one printed in-person, or who want to save money by ordering a large quantity of prints at once.

Screen printing

This is a popular option for t-shirts and other homewares that can be worn repeatedly. Unlike regular printers, screen printers use a special type of ink that expands after it has been heat-treated and set. This means that they can print lots of items with a single ink and make them colourfast and machine washable.

These special inks can be formulated to produce a range of effects, including glittery inks, texturised inks and puff inks that create an embossed effect on the surface of the fabric. You can also choose the type of fabric you’re printing on, which will affect the ink that will be best for it.

Drypoint and etching

Another great option for printmaking is drypoint, which uses a sharp metal instrument to carve furrows into a metal plate, leaving excess rough curls on the surface that hold the ink. This makes the lines on a drypoint print look soft and blurred, like an owl’s feathers.


If you’re looking to produce a more traditional print, etching is a great option. During this process, a metal plate is etched with an acid solution that leaves a smear of emulsion (ink) on the surface. This smear is then removed to leave the lines of your print, which can be very detailed and delicate.

You can also create a series of prints that combine the etching with other techniques, such as lithography or engraving. These are all excellent options for creating an original, unique print.

Public library printing

If you can’t find a printer at your local office supply store or shipping provider, you can often print for free at your local library. Most libraries have at least one printer that’s available to the general public, and many offer cloud printing as well.

It’s a great option for students who need to make a quick, simple document. It can be helpful if you’re not able to print at an office or shipping provider, but if you have a large or complex document or need to print photos, it may be better to go somewhere else.


For those who need to showcase their artwork on the web, SmugMug offers photo printing as a service. You can upload your artwork to the platform, and the service will do the rest of the work for you, handling print and shipping. It’s a great option for anyone who needs to create a website that showcases their artwork, and it’s very affordable too.