5.2.4: 1910 - heden - Copy, composition, printing (printing presses, printing ink) and correction

Looking at the development of production techniques in this period, we must distinguish between newspapers, magazines and books. Until the 1960s, newspapers were produced by means of relief printing. The text was typeset in Linotype, halftones were made of photographs and everything was printed on a rotary press. The transition to photosetting began in the mid-sixties and was in general use by almost all large newspaper printers by the mid-seventies. As early as the late 1970s this tecnique was in turn replaced by computerized typesetting, allowing texts to be combined with photographs an edited to form newspaper pages on screen, which could then be transferred directly into formes. This transition was completed in the 1990s and with it the proud trade of the newspaper typesetter disappeared. From the seventies onwards, newspaper printing was increasingly done with rotary offset presses.

Until the Second World War, a number of illustrated magazines were printed by means of relief printing, using line blocks and half-tones for the pictures. However, after the establishment of the Rotogravuremaatschappij in 1913, an increasing number of magazines were printed in rotogravure. From around 1960, more and more printers began to use offset printing presses and photo typesetting machines, at first for glossy magazines because this technique gave better results with colour photographs, but after 1970, almost all magazines were printed in this way. The great advantages of this procedure were that the bimetal forme could be stretched directly around the cylinder and that a greater variety of paper could be used.

From the sixties onwards, more and more printers began to use offset printing for the production of books as well and later on they also used phototypesetting and composition on the computer, i.e. digital or electronic composing. This work was increasingly contracted out to specialist companies, as was making the blocks for the illustrations. As these methods were much cheaper, the publishers' profit margin rose. In the fifties, cheap, mass-produced paperbacks became popular, thanks to the invention of the German Lumback for glueing the cut-off leaves of the book. This made the expensive process of sewing the gatherings redundant.

The development of printing technology therefore shows a decrease in the diversity of technical procedures from the 1960s onwards. Offset printing became virtually general practice and processing text and images to produce a forme is increasingly done on the computer, incorporating many different graphic skills.

author: D. van Lente

Copy, composition, printing (printing presses, printing ink) and correction