The history of printing can be first traced back as early as 3500 BC, when the ancient Persian and Mesopotamian civilizations used cylinder seals to certify documents written in clay.
However woodblock printing on paper and textiles originated in China around 200 CE and some woodblock printing is even used in present day in some parts of East Asia where it is considered the only way to produce traditional materials especially traditionally printed cloths and clothing.
The modern printing press was said to have been invented some time between 1440 and 1450, the exact date has never been verified, in Europe, this press revolutionised printing and for the first time printers where able to re-produce draft after draft and by the late 1600's newspapers where being mass produced across the world.
Now nothing much changed for 100's of years apart from printing presses changing from manual - where the press was turned by hand - to mechanical where the press was powered by at first steam and then by electricity, It was around the time of the newspaper that companies wanted to be recognised, not just by name but by company colours and logos and brand awareness was born.
In modern times it's all we hear about, brand awareness this, brand awareness that, make sure you get your logo and branding right, but is brand awareness really all that important?
Yes, brand awareness is very important; in fact it is more important than ever now the internet revolution has made it much easier for people to set up businesses on a shoestring making it hard to tell amateurs and professionals from the same industry or niche apart. Now it is all about standing out from your competitors by having superior quality branding and merchandise such as letterheads, business cards, complement slips, brochures and the like.
Digital Printing, A Good Thing or a Bad Thing
The first digital printers came onto the market in the late 1990's, however, these new all singing all dancing digital printers where very expensive and many printing companies where set in their ways using techniques passed down from generation to generation and of course using to traditional printing presses.
When the price of digital printing equipment and computer technology as a whole came down in price during the mid to late 2000's a new bread of printing company started to emerge, the low cost, unskilled online printing companies.
Printing was no longer a skill that was passed down from father to son now anyone could simply buy a digital printer and start offering printing services and so the online price war began with printing costs dropping dramatically, but lower cost printing meant one thing, cheaper materials and in the print and design industry business cards purchased from a cheap online printer where jokingly referred to and business papers because the card stock used was so thin almost like paper, then their was the quality of the print, sure digital printers can print high quality but at a lower quality settings the profit could be higher which was important, especially with printing cost coming down year by year and everyone trying to compete.
Nowadays there are still cheap online printing options available and some of these companies do quite well offering an affordable printing and branding service but these tend to be used by your local tradesmen such as plumbers, locksmiths, electricians etc and businesses where the quality of your business cards and other branded merchandise is not as important and doesn't have any reflected on the quality of work or professionalism of your business.
Cheap online printers are also used by starts ups with limited branding budgets. If a company wants quality branding and quality businesses cards printed on high quality stock that stands out from the crowd then they tend to get in touch with local print and design company.