The Advent of the Age of Print

18th January 2013 in Printing Processes

The printing press is often described as the one of the doorways that led to the modern world. This revolutionary device really did change the face of history and make learning, and later different forms of media, available to the world at large. Before the printing press was invented in the 1440’s, creating literature was a very laborious process. All books and other writings had to be hand copied, something which was primarily done by monks and those of a religious order. It would often take a number of years to fully complete one copy. The monks would often use decorative texts during the process and this is where we get the art of calligraphy from. Due to the length of this process books were in short supply and generally only used for religious or state purposes by a small number of religious and royal officials. A hundred years or so before the printing press was invented the art of block printing became very popular.  This was simply the process of carving words and designs into wood and then using it as a stamp to print on wood and paper.

Despite there being a number of earlier inventions, like block printing, by other inventors, it is Johannes Gutenberg that is credited with transforming the printed world with his printing press. He used the basic principles from a number of these earlier inventions in order to create his own super machine, a machine that has given him worldwide recognition and acclaim. Gutenberg was a goldsmith by trade and he used many of the skills he had learnt as a metal craftsman to perfect his printing press. One of his most important developments was a type mould made from an alloy of lead, tin and antimony which produced a higher quality and longer lasting print than had ever been seen before. These materials have proved to be so effective that they are still used in printing today.

Just a few years after Gutenberg’s invention was made public there were print shops dotted all over Europe. The timing was just perfect as the Renaissance period had hit and learning was being widely encouraged across the classes. The demand for printed literature soared and so did the print industry.

The printing press not only impacted the educational and social lives of the medieval middle classes but it also transformed the way in which business was done. Businesses that had survived purely on their locality and the power of word of mouth could now print advertisements to advertise their wares. These advertisements opened up a whole new channel of promotion and thus began print advertising!  As well as this, businesses could also use print to brand their products or services. Business cards quickly came in vogue and businesses developed their own quality marks, or logo’s as we later call them. Thanks to the printing press these marks could now easily be reproduced and distributed which meant that many small businesses boomed into internationally known enterprises.

Today the market for printed promotional materials is much more complex and competitive than in the early days of Print. Nowadays all businesses are seeking to develop their brand and it is a case of differentiating yourself from your competitors and making sure that people remember you and your company. We think that branded promo products are a great way to do this as they are affordable and highly useful to your potential customers!