Posted by on
So you thought printing was just about shoving a sheet into the printer, clicking print, and getting your printout all in a few seconds? Well, inkjet printers are usually that simple to use, but there is much more to printing than printout out letters, bills, photos, etc. There are several different printing techniques that can give you impressive results, like these for example.

Historical printing techniques

One of the oldest printing techniques is the Wood Block technique where a reverse image is actually carved into wood and then stamped or pressed down on the printing sheet. This method is still used for block printing fabrics by hand for traditional Indian textiles using vegetable dyes.

wood block printing
Wood Block Printing Technique ( Image Source)

Another printing technique involved individual letters made of wood or metal, used for typesetting by hand, which could help print books and large documents relatively quickly. Then there are methods of printing such as photo typesetting, which is now more or less obsolete and offset printing which is still widely used.


This is a method of printing where the paper is literally engraved; where a depressed impression on the printing surface creates the image or letters. The image is transferred to Rotogravure cylinders with a steel base and a copper layer which is then used to print on paper to create the distinctive grooved letters. This printing technique is also known as debossing.


emboss printing
Embossing Example (Image Source)
Basically the reverse of engraving, embossing creates a raised, 3D printed effect on the paper. The printing could be of a thicker style, raised in way that can be felt and not just seen; or it could be the printing surface itself that is raised so that it appears to have been engraved from the reverse side of the paper. Dry embossing or heat embossing are different techniques used to create specific results.


Lamination & Varnish

This technique basically creates a protective layer over the print surface to prevent running, tearing and to create a sheen on the surface. This laminate finish makes the printed material water resistant and smooth to the touch. Not unlike lamination, a varnish finish is a liquid coating that is added to the printed surface to create a matte or glossy finish.

Foil stamping

Foil stamping business cards
Foil Stamping Adds Elegance (Image Source)

Mostly used in commercial printing, this process uses gold, silver or other metallic foil is used to overlay the print surface. Machines called hot foil stampers are used to transfer the foil or other opaque films to solid surfaces. Books, pictures, napkins and pencils often use this kind of foil printing process.


Rather similar to other printing techniques such as engraving, thermography is a more cost effective process. Here ink is laid down, thermography powder is used and then heat is applied to raise the image off the print surface slightly.

Inkjet printers and laser printers

Inkjet and laser printing are processes of printing that all of us are familiar with. These are also the most widely used printing solution for non professional printing requirements. The inkjet printing technique basically sprays the fluid ink on to the print surface to create documents, images, graphics and more. Laser printing uses dry ink and heat to create images or printed documents that are fused on to the surface of the paper or stock sheet.

Depending upon the requirement of your print project, you can use the right printing technique for optimal results. What cool projects do you have lined up? We’d love to hear. Share with us in our comments section or even via our Facebook or Twitter pages. Following us via our official social networking pages or subscribing to our newsletter helps connect to us and also informs you about upcoming store events and discount sales.