Nowadays, the use of computers have contributed to a slight decay of graphic design, as most designers have forgot to learn their craft from simpler, practical and physical methods , such as printing techniques. Computers are, of course, a valuable instrument, but knowing the basics of typography, color management, layout rules and illustration is a first step designers should take. However, knowing about these techniques is not enough, as gaining experience in practicing them might be emblematic for the quality of printing material.
Used for its nice texture and slight embossing design, the letterpress technique actually defined the commencement of printing in the 15th century. To successfully achieve an authentic beauty of a letterpress work, the printer needs to compose and lock movable type into the bed of a press, then ink it and press it to paper. Depending on the material of the blocks used for printing, the final print can have a different design. Even though not many workers have the required skills today to manage a high-quality letterpress, it is still engaged in smaller scale print works such as business cards or wedding invitations.
Die cutting, is another printing technique that can turn an average design into a beautiful piece of work. The process requires the use of a press (a die), but this time for cutting the paper with various shapes that can be regular or custom-made. Fortunately, most printing stores provide standard dies for the shapes that are used more often, but for more creative products, users should get a custom die custom-made to match their design. Even though this might involve some additional costs, it allows flexibility in cutting choices, of course, in the limits of the technology. The die cutting process can be used in issuing business cards, postcards, brochures, catalogue front pages or book covers.
The process of embossing is used in designs that want to approach a more third dimension appearance, creating relief in the printed work. The technique raises a pattern against the background, while for an opposite effect, the pattern can be sunk through de-bossing. Embossing can be realized throughout two methods: stamp embossing and dry embossing. The first technique is done by stamping an image on paper, then adding powder and finally applying heat on it. However, dry embossing is made by tracing a stencil with a stylus over a paper.
Another printing technique used for unique effects is the lamination process that can be developed in two ways: it can be a film added on a printed work, or it can be done with a liquid that dries and forms a tough surface. The final result for both methods reveals a water-resistant covering that makes printing material glossier, with vibrant colors. For instance, book covers use lamination to reinforce it, as well as menus for restaurants, that seek to achieve a more water-resistant frontage.
These printing techniques, alongside serigraphy or foil printing, can improve any printing material, helping users to create different types of effects that are impossible with software.