Raised Printing

I am writing this blog to publicize that an old traditional form of printing is becoming obsolete. Recently, a customer asked me to redesign her informal note cards. The printer I used a few years ago was out of business. It took me quite a while to find a new supplier. And that company only does thermography work just one day a week because there is not enough demand for it.

For may years, raised letter printing (know as thermography) has been a popular method of printing business cards, wedding invitations, announcements, and the like. It gives an elegant look to such documents, particularly when printed on quality bond or linen finish paper.



The process is labor intensive and time consuming, so it does not lend itself to modern, automated methods of applying ink to paper. It requires special slow-drying inks that are treated with a special powder and are exposed to intense heat for short time. Individual colors (called “spot” colors) are used, and most commercial printers use only a limited number of colors. Moreover, shades of color must be created artificially by applying a dot screen effect to represent a percentage of the color. It is not pretty.

In contrast, digital printing requires only four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black— known as CMYK colors) which may be mixed in any combination to create literally millions of colors and shades of color. These are referred to as process colors. The orange rectangle (below left) is an example. The rectangle on the right is a 50% tint (note that there is no dot screen).




It makes me sad that this is happening. However, I do not miss such things as flip phones, VHS tapes, black & white TV, cassettes, typewriters, floppy disks, phones with cords and rotary dials, CRT monitors, and the like. But I do prefer to listen to analog (vinyl) music rather than digital (MP3).


About stanleygraphics

I am a veteran graphic designer who started at the time when cut and paste meant an X-acto knife and rubber cement. I use my experience to educate others. I have an intolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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