What is a print?

There are three principle printmaking techniques: relief
printing (woodcut, wood engraving, linocut), intaglio printing
(etching, drypoint etc.), and planographic (lithography,
screenprinting etc.).

There are three basic printing methods by which old prints
and maps were produced .....

There are four traditional types of printing: relief printing,
intaglio, lithography, and screen process printing.

Descriptions of Printing Processes
So that you can make an informed choice in printing
methods, we provide you with the information below. This
page is structured so that you can know about as much or as
little as you care to know about any given printing method.
Most important to you is probably the "How It Looks" portion
of each heading.



When someone talks about 'relief printing' they are usually
referring to letterpress, woodcuts, wood engravings, or
linoleum cuts. Relief printing encompasses a broad range of
techniques and possibilities for artists and designers. This is
especially true for the book artist because of its history in the
production of books. Relief printing allows for extremely
clean, sharp lines.

Woodcut ..... Linocut ..... Wood engraving


The collective term for several graphic processes in
which prints are made from ink trapped in the grooves
in an incised metal plate. Etchings and engravings are
the most typical examples.

The plate is put onto a press bed with dampened paper on
top, then run through the press under pressure, drawing the
ink out of the grooves and onto the paper

Intaglio presses can cost ten times as much as offset
presses, and an intaglio printing plate can cost hundreds of
times more than a comparable plate intended for offset
printing; hence the relative popularity of the latter. But
intaglio printing has some important advantages. For one
thing, the plates have an incredibly long life; many millions
of impressions can be made before the image quality
degrades. For another, intaglio printing can achieve
remarkably fine levels of detail. These facts, combined with
the raised surfaces of the design, make intaglio printing the
natural choice for currency, passports, and other high-security
documents. Virtually every
banknote (example) in the world
is printed at least partially using intaglio, because its
distinctive appearance and texture make it easier to spot
counterfeits. Although intaglio will never replace laser and
inkjet printers on the desktop, there’s no better printing
technique when only perfection is good enough.

An early intaglio press      Etching      Engraving


Offset lithography, often either called just "offset" or "litho"
printing, refers to traditional print presses. Paper is streamed
through rollers and against a printing "plate," normally four
times - once for each of four colored inks used to achieve full-
color glossy results.

silk screen

Examples   1   2   3   4   5

A student's explanation
One of the methods I utilised to complete the design was
screen printing motifs onto multi-coloured T- shirts. To
complete this technique successfully I was required to transfer
the selected design onto a silk screen blocking out areas that
required a particular colour. I then placed the screen onto the
T-shirt fabric and applied the first block of colour using a
special fabric paint. A squeegee was used to push the paint
through the screen onto the T-shirt. When this coat had
dried, the design was blocked out in a different area and
another colour was applied. This was repeated until the
design was complete. The design was then heat set using an

The Screen Printing Process (for Tshirts)
The journey from idea to shirt is a detailed one. We start with
the customers idea. Next we move to the art department who
takes the idea and starts shaping it into the final design that
can be put to screen and actually printed.
If you want more on Tshirts click here

Screen printing, sometimes called silk screening or
serigraphy, has long proved it's worth as a fine arts and
commercial medium. These instructions have been prepared
in simple language.
A   V I S U A L    C O M M U N I C A T I O N    C O M M U N I T Y    W E B P A G E
Created by