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|History of printing|
Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus. The earliest known form of printing as applied to paper was woodblock printing, which appeared in China before 220 AD for cloth printing. However, it would not be applied to paper until the seventh century.Later developments in printing technology include the movable type invented by Bi Sheng around 1040 AD and the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. The technology of printing played a key role in the development of the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns that was used widely throughout East Asia. It originated in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later on paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220 A.D.
The earliest surviving woodblock printed fragments are from China. They are of silk printed with flowers in three colours from the Han Dynasty (before 220 A.D.). The earliest examples of woodblock printing on paper appear in the mid-seventh century in China.
By the ninth century, printing on paper had taken off, and the first extant complete printed book containing its date is the Diamond Sutra (British Library) of 868.By the tenth century, 400,000 copies of some sutras and pictures were printed, and the Confucian classics were in print. A skilled printer could print up to 2,000 double-page sheets per day.
Printing spread early to Korea and Japan, which also used Chinese logograms, but the technique was also used in Turpan and Vietnam using a number of other scripts. This technique then spread to Persia and Russia. [ further explanation needed ]This technique was transmitted to Europe via the Islamic world, and by around 1400 was being used on paper for old master prints and playing cards. However, Arabs never used this to print the Quran because of the limits imposed by Islamic doctrine.
Block printing, called tarsh in Arabic, developed in Arabic Egypt during the ninth and tenth centuries, mostly for prayers and amulets. There is some evidence to suggest that these print blocks made from non-wood materials, possibly tin, lead, or clay. The techniques employed are uncertain, however, and they appear to have had very little influence outside of the Muslim world. Though Europe adopted woodblock printing from the Muslim world, initially for fabric, the technique of metal block printing remained unknown in Europe. Block printing later went out of use in Islamic Timurid Renaissance.The Golden Age of Islam saw printing of texts, including passages from the Quran and Hadith, adopting the Chinese craft of paper making, developed it and adopted it immensely in the Islamic world, which led to a significant increase in the production of manuscript texts. The printing technique in Egypt was embraced reproducing texts on paper strips and supplying them in different copies to meet the demand.
Block printing first came to Europe as a method for printing on cloth, where it was common by 1300. Images printed on cloth for religious purposes could be quite large and elaborate. When paper became relatively easily available, around 1400, the technique transferred very quickly to small woodcut religious images and playing cards printed on paper. These prints produced in very large numbers from about 1425 onward.
Around the mid-fifteenth-century, block-books, woodcut books with both text and images, usually carved in the same block, emerged as a cheaper alternative to manuscripts and books printed with movable type. These were all short heavily illustrated works, the bestsellers of the day, repeated in many different block-book versions: the Ars moriendi and the Biblia pauperum were the most common. There is still some controversy among scholars as to whether their introduction preceded or, the majority view, followed the introduction of movable type, with the range of estimated dates being between about 1440 and 1460.
Movable type is the system of printing and typography using movable pieces of metal type, made by casting from matrices struck by letterpunches. Movable type allowed for much more flexible processes than hand copying or block printing.
Around 1040, the first known movable type system was created in China by Bi Sheng out of porcelain.Bi Sheng used clay type, which broke easily, but Wang Zhen by 1298 had carved a more durable type from wood. He also developed a complex system of revolving tables and number-association with written Chinese characters that made typesetting and printing more efficient. Still, the main method in use there remained woodblock printing (xylography), which "proved to be cheaper and more efficient for printing Chinese, with its thousands of characters".
Copper movable type printing originated in China at the beginning of the 12th century. It was used in large-scale printing of paper money issued by the Northern Song dynasty. Movable type spread to Korea during the Goryeo dynasty.
Around 1230, Koreans invented a metal type movable printing using bronze. The Jikji, published in 1377, is the earliest known metal printed book. Type-casting was used, adapted from the method of casting coins. The character was cut in beech wood, which was then pressed into a soft clay to form a mould, and bronze poured into the mould, and finally the type was polished.The Korean form of metal movable type was described by the French scholar Henri-Jean Martin as "extremely similar to Gutenberg's".
Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg introduced the first movable type printing system in Europe. He advanced innovations in casting type based on a matrix and hand mould, adaptations to the screw-press, the use of an oil-based ink, and the creation of a softer and more absorbent paper.Gutenberg was the first to create his type pieces from an alloy of lead, tin, antimony, copper and bismuth – the same components still used today. Johannes Gutenberg started work on his printing press around 1436, in partnership with Andreas Dritzehen – whom he had previously instructed in gem-cutting – and Andreas Heilmann, the owner of a paper mill.
Compared to woodblock printing, movable type page setting and printing using a press was faster and more durable. Also, the metal type pieces were sturdier and the lettering more uniform, leading to typography and fonts. The high quality and relatively low price of the Gutenberg Bible (1455) established the superiority of movable type for Western languages. The printing press rapidly spread across Europe, leading up to the Renaissance, and later all around the world.
Gutenberg's innovations in movable type printing have been called the most important invention of the second millennium.
The rotary printing press was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843. It uses impressions curved around a cylinder to print on long continuous rolls of paper or other substrates. Rotary drum printing was later significantly improved by William Bullock. There are multiple types of rotary printinting press technologies that are still used today: sheetfed offset, rotogravure, and flexographic printing.
The table lists the maximum number of pages which various press designs could print per hour.
|Hand-operated presses||Steam-powered presses|
| Gutenberg-style |
| Stanhope press |
| Koenig press |
|Koenig press |
|Koenig press |
|Koenig press |
|Impressions per hour||200||480||800||1,100||2,000||2,400|
All printing process are concerned with two kinds of areas on the final output:
After the information has been prepared for production (the prepress step), each printing process has definitive means of separating the image from the non-image areas.
Conventional printing has four types of process:
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing. A worker composes and locks movable type into the bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper. There is different paper for different works the quality of paper shows different ink to use
Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century, when offset printing was developed. More recently, letterpress printing has seen a revival in an artisanal form.
Offset printing is a widely used modern printing process. This technology is best described as when a positive (right-reading) image on a printing plate is inked and transferred (or "offset") from the plate to a rubber blanket. The blanket image becomes a mirror image of the plate image. An offset transfer moves the image to a printing substrate (typically paper), making the image right-reading again. Offset printing utilizes a lithographic process which is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The offset process employs a flat (planographic) image carrier (plate) which is mounted on a press cylinder. The image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts an (acidic) film of water, keeping the non-image areas ink-free. Most offset presses utilize three cylinders: Plate, blanket, impression. Currently, most books and newspapers are printed using offset lithography.
Gravure printing is an intaglio printing technique, where the image being printed is made up of small depressions in the surface of the printing plate. The cells are filled with ink, and the excess is scraped off the surface with a doctor blade. Then a rubber-covered roller presses paper onto the surface of the plate and into contact with the ink in the cells. The printing cylinders are usually made from copper plated steel, which is subsequently chromed, and may be produced by diamond engraving; etching, or laser ablation.
Gravure printing is used for long, high-quality print runs such as magazines, mail-order catalogues, packaging and printing onto fabric and wallpaper. It is also used for printing postage stamps and decorative plastic laminates, such as kitchen worktops.
Flexography is a type of relief printing.The relief plates are typically made from photopolymers. The process is used for flexible packaging, corrugated board, labels, newspapers and more. In this market it competes with gravure printing by holding 80% of the market in USA, 50% in Europe but only 20% in Asia.
The other significant printing techniques include:
It is estimated that following the innovation of Gutenberg's printing press, the European book output rose from a few million to around one billion copies within a span of less than four centuries.
Samuel Hartlib, who was exiled in Britain and enthusiastic about social and cultural reforms, wrote in 1641 that "the art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will not be governed by way of oppression".
In the Muslim world, printing, especially in Arabic scripts, was strongly opposed throughout the early modern period, though sometimes printing in Hebrew or Armenian script was permitted. Thus the first movable type printing in the Ottoman Empire was in Hebrew in 1493.According to an imperial ambassador to Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was a sin for the Turks to print religious books. In 1515, Sultan Selim I issued a decree under which the practice of printing would be punishable by death. At the end of the sixteenth century, Sultan Murad III permitted the sale of non-religious printed books in Arabic characters, yet the majority were imported from Italy. Ibrahim Muteferrika established the first press for printing in Arabic in the Ottoman Empire, against opposition from the calligraphers and parts of the Ulama. It operated until 1742, producing altogether seventeen works, all of which were concerned with non-religious, utilitarian matters. Printing did not become common in the Islamic world until the 19th century.
Jews were banned from German printing guilds; as a result Hebrew printing sprang up in Italy, beginning in 1470 in Rome, then spreading to other cities including Bari, Pisa, Livorno, and Mantua. Local rulers had the authority to grant or revoke licenses to publish Hebrew books,and many of those printed during this period carry the words 'con licenza de superiori' (indicating their printing having been licensed by the censor) on their title pages.
It was thought that the introduction of printing 'would strengthen religion and enhance the power of monarchs.'The majority of books were of a religious nature, with the church and crown regulating the content. The consequences of printing 'wrong' material were extreme. Meyrowitz used the example of William Carter who in 1584 printed a pro-Catholic pamphlet in Protestant-dominated England. The consequence of his action was hanging.
Print gave a broader range of readers access to knowledge and enabled later generations to build directly on the intellectual achievements of earlier ones without the changes arising within verbal traditions. Print, according to Acton in his 1895 lecture On the Study of History, gave "assurance that the work of the Renaissance would last, that what was written would be accessible to all, that such an occultation of knowledge and ideas as had depressed the Middle Ages would never recur, that not an idea would be lost".
Print was instrumental in changing the social nature of reading.
Elizabeth Eisenstein identifies two long-term effects of the invention of printing. She claims that print created a sustained and uniform reference for knowledge and allowed comparisons of incompatible views.
Asa Briggs and Peter Burke identify five kinds of reading that developed in relation to the introduction of print:
The invention of printing also changed the occupational structure of European cities. Printers emerged as a new group of artisans for whom literacy was essential, while the much more labour-intensive occupation of the scribe naturally declined. Proof-correcting arose as a new occupation, while a rise in the numbers of booksellers and librarians naturally followed the explosion in the numbers of books.
Gutenberg's printing press had profound impacts on universities as well. Universities were influenced in their "language of scholarship, libraries, curriculum, [and] pedagogy"
Before the invention of the printing press, most written material was in Latin. However, after the invention of printing the number of books printed expanded as well as the vernacular. Latin was not replaced completely, but remained an international language until the eighteenth century.
At this time, universities began establishing accompanying libraries. "Cambridge made the chaplain responsible for the library in the fifteenth century but this position was abolished in 1570 and in 1577 Cambridge established the new office of university librarian. Although, the University of Leuven did not see a need for a university library based on the idea that professor were the library. Libraries also began receiving so many books from gifts and purchases that they began to run out of room. This issue was solved, however, by a man named Merton (1589) who decided books should be stacked horizontally on shelves.
The printed press changed university libraries in many ways. Professors were finally able to compare the opinions of different authors rather than being forced to look at only one or two specific authors. Textbooks themselves were also being printed in different levels of difficulty, rather than just one introductory text being made available.
|Printing process||Transfer method||Pressure applied||Drop size||Dynamic viscosity||Ink thickness on substrate||Notes||Cost-effective run length|
|Offset printing||rollers||1 MPa||40–100 Pa·s||0.5–1.5 μm||high print quality||>5,000 (A3 trim size, sheet-fed) |
>30,000 (A3 trim size, web-fed)
|Rotogravure||rollers||3 MPa||50–200 mPa·s||0.8–8 μm||thick ink layers possible, |
excellent image reproduction,
edges of letters and lines are jagged
|Flexography||rollers||0.3 MPa||50–500 mPa·s||0.8–2.5 μm||high quality (now HD)|
|Letterpress printing||platen||10 MPa||50–150 Pa·s||0.5–1.5 μm||slow drying|
|Screen-printing||pressing ink through holes in screen||1000–10,000 mPa·s||<12 μm||versatile method, |
|Electrophotography||electrostatics||5–10 μm||thick ink|
|Liquid Electrophotography||image formation by Electrostatics and transfer while fixing||High PQ, excellent image reproduction, wide range of media, very thin image|
|Inkjet printer||thermal||5–30 picolitres (pl)||1–5 mPa·s||<0.5 μm||special paper required to reduce bleeding||<350 (A3 trim size)|
|Inkjet printer||piezoelectric||4–30 pl||5–20 mPa s||<0.5 μm||special paper required to reduce bleeding||<350 (A3 trim size)|
|Inkjet printer||continuous||5–100 pl||1–5 mPa·s||<0.5 μm||special paper required to reduce bleeding||<350 (A3 trim size)|
|Transfer-print||thermal transfer film or water release decal||mass-production method of applying an image to a curved or uneven surface|
|Aerosol-jet printer||Aerosolized inks carried by gas||2–5 microns in diameter||1–1000 mPa s||<1 μm||Good printing resolution, |
By 2005, Digital printing accounts for approximately 9% of the 45 trillion pages printed annually around the world.
Printing at home, an office, or an engineering environment is subdivided into:
Some of the more common printing technologies are:
Vendors typically stress the total cost to operate the equipment, involving complex calculations that include all cost factors involved in the operation as well as the capital equipment costs, amortization, etc. For the most part, toner systems are more economical than inkjet in the long run, even though inkjets are less expensive in the initial purchase price.
Professional digital printing (using toner) primarily uses an electrical charge to transfer toner or liquid ink to the substrate onto which it is printed. Digital print quality has steadily improved from early color and black and white copiers to sophisticated colour digital presses such as the Xerox iGen3, the Kodak Nexpress, the HP Indigo Digital Press series, and the InfoPrint 5000. The iGen3 and Nexpress use toner particles and the Indigo uses liquid ink. The InfoPrint 5000 is a full-color, continuous forms inkjet drop-on-demand printing system. All handle variable data, and rival offset in quality. Digital offset presses are also called direct imaging presses, although these presses can receive computer files and automatically turn them into print-ready plates, they cannot insert variable data.
Small press and fanzines generally use digital printing. Prior to the introduction of cheap photocopying, the use of machines such as the spirit duplicator, hectograph, and mimeograph was common.
3D printing is a form of manufacturing technology where physical objects are created from three-dimensional digital models using 3D printers. The objects are created by laying down or building up many thin layers of material in succession. The technique is also known as additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, or fabricating.[ citation needed ]
Gang run printing is a method in which multiple printing projects are placed on a common paper sheet in an effort to reduce printing costs and paper waste. Gang runs are generally used with sheet-fed printing presses and CMYK process color jobs, which require four separate plates that are hung on the plate cylinder of the press. Printers use the term "gang run" or "gang" to describe the practice of placing many print projects on the same oversized sheet. Basically, instead of running one postcard that is 4 x 6 as an individual job the printer would place 15 different postcards on 20 x 18 sheet, therefore using the same amount of press time the printer will get 15 jobs done in roughly the same amount of time as one job.
Printed electronics is the manufacturing of electronic devices using standard printing processes. Printed electronics technology can be produced on cheap materials such as paper or flexible film, which makes it an extremely cost-effective method of production. Since early 2010, the printable electronics industry has been gaining momentum and several large companies, including Bemis Company and Illinois Tool Works have made investments in printed electronics and industry associations including OE-A and FlexTech Alliance are contributing heavily to the advancement of the printed electronics industry.
Printing terminologies are the specific terms used in the printing industry.
In computing, a printer is a peripheral machine which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text, usually on paper. While most output is human-readable, bar code printers are an example of an expanded use for printers. The different types of printers include 3D printer, inkjet printer, laser printer, thermal printer, etc.
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable-type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
Lithography is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material.
A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium, thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.
Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is considered an "original" work of art, and is correctly referred to as an "impression", not a "copy". Often impressions vary considerably, whether intentionally or not. The images on most prints are created for that purpose, perhaps with a preparatory study such as a drawing. A print that copies another work of art, especially a painting, is known as a "reproductive print".
Movable type is the system and technology of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document usually on the medium of paper.
Stationery is a mass noun referring to commercially manufactured writing materials, including cut paper, envelopes, writing implements, continuous form paper, and other office supplies. Stationery includes materials to be written on by hand or by equipment For example: computer printers.
Giclée is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine-art printing, usually archival, printed by inkjet. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high quality printing, but is an unregulated word with no associated warranty of quality.
Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image used for each impression. The savings in labor and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match or supersede offset printing technology's ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
Offset printing is a common printing technique in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier. Ink rollers transfer ink to the image areas of the image carrier, while a water roller applies a water-based film to the non-image areas.
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing. Using a printing press, the process allows many copies to be produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper. A worker composes and locks movable type into the "bed" or "chase" of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type, which creates an impression on the paper.
Color printing or colour printing is the reproduction of an image or text in color. Any natural scene or color photograph can be optically and physiologically dissected into three primary colors, red, green and blue, roughly equal amounts of which give rise to the perception of white, and different proportions of which give rise to the visual sensations of all other colors. The additive combination of any two primary colors in roughly equal proportion gives rise to the perception of a secondary color. For example, red and green yields yellow, red and blue yields magenta, and green and blue yield cyan. Only yellow is counter-intuitive. Yellow, cyan and magenta are merely the "basic" secondary colors: unequal mixtures of the primaries give rise to perception of many other colors all of which may be considered "tertiary."
Woodblock printing or block printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220 AD. Woodblock printing existed in Tang China by the 7th century AD and remained the most common East Asian method of printing books and other texts, as well as images, until the 19th century. Ukiyo-e is the best-known type of Japanese woodblock art print. Most European uses of the technique for printing images on paper are covered by the art term woodcut, except for the block-books produced mainly in the 15th century.
Books in Japan have a long history, which begins in the late 8th century AD (768AD-770AD). The majority of books were hand-copied until the Edo period (1603–1867), when woodblock printing became comparatively affordable and widespread. Movable-type printing had been used from the late 16th century, but for various aesthetic and practical reasons woodblock printing and hand-copied remained dominant until much later. Japanese equivalents for "book" include 本 (hon) and 書籍 (shoseki). The former term indicates only bound books, and does not include scrolls. The latter is used for printed matter only. The most general term is 書物 (shomotsu), which means all written or printed matter that has been collected into a single unit, regardless of construction.
Printing in East Asia originated from the Han dynasty in China, evolving from ink rubbings made on paper or cloth from texts on stone tables used during the Han. Printing is considered one of the Four Great Inventions of China that spread throughout the world. A specific type of printing called mechanical woodblock printing on paper started in China during the Tang dynasty before the 8th century CE. The use of woodblock printing spread throughout Asia, the idea of the printing press eventually reached Europe, which improved on the design with the introduction mechanical press. The Chinese used only clay and wood movable type at first. The use of metal movable type was known in Korea by the 13th century. The European-style printing press became known in East Asia by the 16th century but was not adopted. Centuries later, mechanical printing presses combining some European influences were adopted, but then replaced with newer laser printing systems designed in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Woodblock printing in Japan is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868) and similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which typically uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.
Hua Sui was a Chinese scholar, inventor and printer of Wuxi, Jiangsu province during the Ming dynasty. He belonged to the wealthy Hua family that was renowned throughout the region. Hua Sui is best known for creating China's first metal movable type printing in 1490 AD.
The history of printing starts as early as 3500 BCE, when the proto-Elamite and Sumerian civilizations used cylinder seals to certify documents written in clay. Other early forms include block seals, hammered coinage, pottery imprints, and cloth printing. Initially a method of printing patterns on cloth such as silk, woodblock printing originated in China around 200 AD, and was transferred to paper by the 7th century, leading to the spread of book production in Asia. Movable type was invented in the Song dynasty in the eleventh century but it received limited use compared to woodblock printing. Woodblock printing was also used in Europe until the fifteenth century when a process for mass-producing metal type and the printing press were invented to support an economical book publishing industry. This industry enabled the communication of ideas and sharing of knowledge on an unprecedented scale. Alongside the development of text printing, new and lower-cost methods of image reproduction were developed, including lithography, screen printing and photocopying.
Buddhist influences on print technology in East Asia are far-reaching. The history of writing in Asia dates back to the 13th century BC. China used bones and shells for religious inscriptions in the form of divinations. From these beginnings, numerous forms of writing and printing were developed. In many instances, as in Europe, it was religion that played a major role in the development of writing and printing techniques or which was the reason behind the usage of these techniques. Of the religions in East Asia, it was Buddhism that played the strongest role in influencing writing and, in particular, printing. There were other factors that influenced the creation of manuscript and print culture, but Buddhism had the largest influence in spreading the usage of print technology, which in turn led to an increase in the dissemination of secular printing and literacy as well as wielding an important influence on economics, government, and competing religions/philosophies.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to books:
On the effects of Gutenberg's printing
The classic manual of early hand-press technology is
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