By Mike | 04th February 2014

Different methods of printing and their applications

Here at Your Image 2 Canvas we love to share information, advice and facts with our blog readers, so following on from our Brief History of Printing last week, here we’re going to take a look at some of the better known methods of printing. Some of these are suitable for canvas, while others require different materials to get the best finish...

Large format printing

Block printing - this method of printing is probably the oldest, and has been used for reproducing text, pictures and patterns onto both cloth and paper over the centuries. Originally wooden blocks would have been carved by hand, leaving a raised pattern or piece of text which would then be covered with ink and firmly placed on the material to leave its impression.

Screen printing - while this method of printing has also been around for a long time, it's still commonly used especially for T shirts, other items of clothing and for plastic signs. The item to be printed on is stretched over a frame and securely fastened, and the pattern or image to print is created by hand, or more commonly, digitally, onto a stencil which is then placed onto the screen; the ink is then dragged across the stencil leaving the ink to run through the cut outs and onto the material. You probably have screen printed items in your own wardrobe.

Letterpress - the first ever type of printing press was a letterpress, and it works very much the same way as an old-fashioned typewriter; each letter is represented by its own stamp which is used to collect ink and transfer it onto paper. This creates a beautiful finish but unfortunately isn't used very much anymore because it takes such a long time to do – making it expensive too!

Flexography - similar to the letterpress, flexography is mostly found in the production of packaging and labelling. A rubber stamp is etched into the required pattern or text and then placed around a rotating cylinder; this collects ink and transfers it onto printing materials such as paper, cardboard and stickers.

Digital printing - one of the latest in a long line of printing technologies, this offers varying degrees of innovation and quality depending on the equipment used. The most common types of digital printing equipment around in the 21st century are inkjet and laser printers and these digital printers are used for a wide range of purposes, from printing photos onto proper photographic paper, reproducing documents in an office environment and of course for canvas printing too! Without these incredible machines we wouldn't be able to produce the beautiful canvas prints that we provide for our customers all over the UK – so this has to make digital printing our favourite of all the different methods!

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