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The Evolution of Printing: Then and Now

Printing has a long history, going all the way back to early Mesopotamian civilization – before the year 3,000 BC! So how did we get from pressing images into clay with round seals to more advanced technologies like digital printing? DMS explains. Read on!

The Earliest Printers

Aside from Mesopotamian stamping methods, the earliest printed pieces we have come from China’s Han Dynasty (before 220 AD). These were made of silk and were printed with flowers in three different colors. The process used was woodblock printing. Similar techniques were used in many other parts of the world, such as India and Europe, and it didn’t take too long for the technique to be transferred from cloth to paper.

Movable Type

For this method, printers used movable pieces of metal type that could be arranged to form an entire document. The Gutenberg Bible was printed this way in 1455, which established moveable type’s place in the printing world as a high-quality, affordable option. It was faster and longer lasting than woodblock printing, Gutenberg’s European movable type printing methods are generally considered the most important invention of the second millennium.


Lithography was a method of printing that utilized chemical processes to create an image. It offered the possibility of printing on a smooth surface. The positive portion of an image was a hydrophobic chemical, and the negative part was water. So when the plate was exposed to a compatible mixture of ink and water, the ink would stick to the positive image and the water would clean the negative image. Brilliant!

Digital Printing

The early 1990s heralded the age of the modern digital printer, which offered the option to make every impression on the paper different, a more sophisticated ink/toner process, and a reduction in waste. Digital printing uses liquid ink or toner, and prints based on digital files as opposed to printing plates. This has completely transformed the way businesses use print materials to market their products or services!

Digital Marketing Services has Your Solutions!

As you can see, printing has taken quite a journey since its early days! Today, DMS offers the most advanced printing options around. Our digital printing solutions boast a quick turnaround, consistent results, variable data capability, cost savings, and low to high print quantities. To learn more about the ways digital printing can transform your business marketing strategies, contact us today!


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