The Gutenberg Press | 1440-Present

24 March, 2011

1.  Briefly explain how the Gutenberg Press worked. Which printing process is this an example of? Post a photo of the Gutenberg Press.

The press used metal typography. Pages were placed in an arrangement for a form, or frame. The paper is then inked and pressed between a frisket and a tympan, which is folded down. The bed is rolled under the platen and the impression is created by a screw which sends pressure to the ink. The screws are then reversed and the bed is flipped to its original position. Finally the sheets are removed. Some of the presses can be operated by steam power.



2. What is movable type? Post an photo of movable type within a type case.

Movable type is the system of printing using movable components to reproduce the elements of a document.



3. Briefly describe the process of porous printing.

Porous printing is the style of stencil and screen printing. Using a stencil image, ink is poured or squeezed on a nice, fine screen onto the object used for printing (i.e. paper, glass, textiles, or metals). The screen holds the pictograph or typographic material. This process uses such a heavy load of ink, bright and neon colours can be used. This can be used for making posters, detailed-fine art, and signs.

4. Briefly describe the process of intaglio printing.

An images is incised on a matrix or plate. The incisions are made by etching, dry-point, engraving, mezzotint, or aqua tint. On the surface, ink is added and then rubbed with a tarlatan cloth to remove any excess ink. A final rubdown is done with old newspaper, only leaving ink in the incisions. Damp paper is placed on top which runs together with the plate through the printing press. They are pressed together tightly to ensure the plate’s ink rubs off and imprints onto the paper.

5. Briefly describe the process of lithography.

Printing on stone or metal plates. Low-cost printing, not as expensive as other forms of printing. Created circa 1796. During the printing process, the stones or metal plates are kept wet with water. Solution and gum arabic are applied beforehand. The printing inks are based on drying oils and varnishes coated with pigments which is then rolled or flipped over so that the surface is facing upward. Special paper is put atop the stone/metal plate which is then run through the press. The paper is ripped or slipped off and the stone is left with engravings.

6. What is offset lithography?

Most commonly used printing technique. The ink is moved to a rubber blanket and then to a printing surface. There are two versions of this process: The first, formed in England ~1875 on tin, and then again in the United States ~1903 on paper.

7. How do printing presses that are utilized today compare to the Gutenberg Press? Post a photo example of an offset lithography press.

The modern press still utilizes relief printing, intaglio, porous and lithography printing. The Gutenberg  press used most of those effects, but was also made of wood, and then later on, cast iron.



8. What is CYMK? Describe four-color process printing.

CMYK stands for the colours cyan, yellow, magenta, and black (because ‘B’ is used for ‘blue’). Four-colour process is an essential printing process where you take the final artwork and break it down into CMYK format. Working with high-resolution images when printing, looks better in CMYK than RGB (red, blue, green) because the image quality is more profound and the colours are more closely matched. CMYK is used when printing because RGB does not looks as great on paper, because of it’s ever-lacking presence of the colour white. The process is more detailed, effective and precise. Instead of re-shooting an image that was printed in RGB, the user can edit with CMYK to the colours of choice because there is a presence of the colour black.


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