28 November 2012

The History of Printing Techniques in Video

Print is an amazing thing that has evolved over centuries from its first recorded evidence at around 3500BC when engraved cylinders were used to make impressions onto clay through to our modern day digital printing techniques, which involve no manual labour whatsoever.

Seeing as print has such a long history and takes a massive amount of time to explain how each of the processes works, we’ve decided to create a collection of the best videos we could find that explain each of the printing processes in the simplest ways possible. We’ve also presented them in chronological order with the dates of when the techniques were first conceived so that you can visualise the evolution of printing from its humble beginnings to now.

Let us know what your favourite printing technique is in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

Woodblock Printing - Year: 200

Bookkake Woodblock Printing from stml on Vimeo.

Movable Type - Year: 1040

Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

Printing Press - Year: 1454

Letterpress from Naomie Ross on Vimeo.

Etching - Year: 1500

Mezzotint - Year: 1642

Making the plates:


Aquatint - Year: 1768

Lithography - Year: 1796

Die Kunst der Lithographie from Max Negrelli on Vimeo.

Rotary Printing - Year: 1843

Offset Printing - Year: 1875

Lithography from Richard Masland on Vimeo.

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Hectographic Printing - Year: 19th Century

Hot Metal Typesetting (Linotype) - Year: 1886

"Linotype: The Film" Official Trailer from Linotype: The Film on Vimeo.

Screen Printing - Year: 1907

Moleskine Silk Screen Printing from Moleskine ® on Vimeo.

Spirit Duplicator - Year: 1923

Dye Sublimination - Year: 1957

Laser Printing - Year: 1969

Thermal Printing - Year: 1972

Inkjet Printing - Year: 1976

3D Printing - Year: 1986

3D Printing: A Time-Lapse from Liz on Vimeo.

Digital Printing Press - Year: 1993

The dates of these different printing techniques have been sourced from Wikipedia’s article on The History of Printing which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_printing.


  1. Awesome! I am linking all of my students to this page to help teach about printing processes and the history timeline. This website makes it very easy to understand. Thanks so much!

  2. Thanks for the referrals! Greatly appreciate it :)


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