The Development of Printing in Colour Over the Years

When people buy a book, magazine, or periodical, there is now an expectation that it will be of a certain standard and contain certain elements. Printing magazines in the UK has come a long way since the old two sheet black and white offerings containing just text. Colour and photographs are now an integral part of any publication, and the success of any magazine often depends on the quality of these images. In this article, we thought we would have a look at how the use of colour in printing has evolved since the very early days.

The act of recreating text and imagery through printing dates back more than 3000 BC, from early cave dwellers painting on walls in prehistoric times through the Ancient Greeks scribing on parchment. The first successful colour printing project occurred more than four decades ago. Colour printing has never been more advanced thanks to major developments in the quality of printers. In this article, we thought we would have a look at how the use of colour in printing has evolved since the very early days.

When was Colour Printing First Used?

In the shape of a 2-colour Buddhist Sutra scroll that dates to 1346, the earliest colour print in history can be found in China. Colouring by hand was the first method of adding colour to printed items. The main aim of this was to provide readers with something that was visually more attractive. In the 15th century, the method was then introduced to Europe. The biggest improvements in colour printing occurred in the 19th century, and these inventions are what made current colour printing possible.

Since the successful completion of the initial colour print task in 1977, colour printing has made significant advancements. As far back as 3000 BC, printing as a process has been used. The advancements in the technological aspects of computing during the 20th century made automated printing more widely available.

Colour Printing a Brief History

As a result of the development of the moveable style of press during the 16th century, colour printing has advanced significantly over time. The following highlights:

  • Johannes Gutenberg created the moveable type press in 1550.
  • The print press was mechanised during the industrial revolution, and the invention of lithography advanced the printing technique and made it much simpler to transfer images.
  • Modern printing was transformed by developments in photomechanical printing plates and the photographic process during the 19th century.
  • The Mitsushita Corporation invented colour printing in 1976, along with the invention of monitors with colour displays.
  • Thanks to technological improvements, the first two- and three-colour printing procedures were created in 1910; the four-colour process is still used in contemporary printing today.
  • The 20th century’s consumers were overrun with options thanks to significant developments like the creation of the first commercial photocopier in 1958 and the introduction of the world’s first laser printer in 1969.
  • Inkjet, laser, and dot matrix printers were all available to customers by the 1980s.
  • By the late 1980s, customers had easier access to, and a better user experience with, colour printers.
  • Colour printers have evolved into the complex technological marvels we know and love today, delivering the highest degree of colour print quality along with unmatched finish and quality.

While today’s younger generation could probably never imagine a world without colour printing, some of the older readers will remember only too well some of the earlier printed magazines of the seventies. Hopefully, this article will have given people an insight into how colour printing has developed into the phenomenon that it is today.

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