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From Gutenberg to Illustrator

Actually, the concept of printing began in the 6th century AD. Prior to that, people wrote elaborate books on materials such as wood tablets, clay tablets, and calfskin. The real business of printing began in ancient China where the idea of block printing originated and was still widely used until 1400.

In 1440 a German man by the name Johannes Gutenberg, invented the press and revolutionized the world of printing. Gutenberg printed a 36 line bible as well as a 42 line bible and even the encyclopedia. Within some years, the amazing concept had spread from Germany to the rest of Europe despite Gutenberg’s effort to keep it a secret.

A Gutenberg printing press

The invention of the press quickly allowed for mass printing of books and this itself brought many opportunities. Up until this period owning books and education, in general, was a privilege that only the rich could afford. Newspapers were also rare and the first newspaper was published in 1666 and was called the London Gazette. Mass printing allowed the printing of books and newspapers in large quantities till this today. The invention of the press also made possible the business of publishing. Prior to this the profits of a book where only shared between the author, the printer and the bookseller.

However, after mass printing began, there was a need for editing, page layouts, binding, distribution, and several other service. Subsequently, many jobs and opportunities were created. The invention of the steam power and advances in paper production boosted the efforts of mass printing and the costs became more affordable, this period marked a revolutionary change in society as people of all classes could read, learn and make more informed decisions about their communities. The 19th century saw the creation of magazines as well as colored printing. The multi-color rotary press became available in 1890 and by 1948 several advertisements and magazine items were printed in two or more colors. Finally in the wake of technology in the mid-1980s printing was taken to a whole new level when desktop publishing was invented. Notable names in this field include Adobe, Aldus, HP and Apple. These companies, with their combined forces of advanced hardware and software, are collectively responsible for making desktop publishing what it is today. Apple created the Macintosh computer with a wide variety of fonts and design possibilities. Adobe created the postscript page description language, also known as the printer control language which controls the appearance of the printed page. Aldus created the Page maker software which was the first desktop publishing software. Hp created the desktop laser printer which is one of the best printers today.

modern printing

The world of printing is still getting better every day, with more affordable printers, and more effective software developed daily, it is fairly easy for anyone to print anything from a magazine to a book.

This blog post is related to a new art project I'm working on, called - 'between Gutenberg and Illustrator'. This project that is supported by Spark Maler Berlin, combines the capabilities and aesthetics of computer aided design and manufacturing, with the quality of the traditional printing process.

A test print that was made as a part of the RnD process

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