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Commercial Printing – What is next?

Commercial printing and business print products are comprised of hundreds of different types of print media.  Such as leaflets, business cards, flyers, mailers, newspapers, magazines, books, and anything else with ink on it.  If it has ink on it, then is a product of commercial printing.  For the average business or mom and pop store,  there are only few types of printed products they care about; business cards and marketing materials.  In fact, commercial printing is itself relies on a few core technologies to produce the numerous amount of printed materials we use and see everyday.

Lets take your typical modern business card with your logo, contact information and maybe some fancy graphics to wow your new potential customers.  So lets walk through the life of creating that business card.  Someone, typically a graphics designer creates the digital version of the business card in one of the popular graphics design programs like Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.  Once the customer approves the design, then a work order is created and it is sent for prepress.  In general terms, prepress is the process that creates the plate or template that will be used to print the business card.  Obviously, the prepress process is a bit more complex, however on todays color laser printers, all the prepress work is done digitally and sent directly to the printer with the correct specifications for the paper type, paper size, and color pallete.  Within a few minutes a thousand business cards are printed.  Not surprising with the cheap business card prices you can find today.

That business card was created with a high tech super fast color laser printer that can cost several tens of thousands of dollars.   The color printing technology used today has changed significantly compared to the standard color presses used in the past.

What is next for the commercial printing industry?  3d printing?  Well actually yes.  There are several industry standard 3d printers commercially available.  Image printing your own toys for your kids!  Only time will tell.

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