fun facts about printingWith the boom of digital technology that has swept the entire world over the past 20 years it was inevitable that the age of the Digital Printer would dawn and for the technology to advance.

Ink is probably the most important medium of communication, education and decoration in the world today. Just take a look around you. You are probably surrounded by numerous printed items and have never really taken notice of the fact. From the calendar on the wall, the wallpaper you spent hours choosing, the label on a bottle, the book you’re reading, maybe even the T-Shirt you are wearing, a bar of chocolate and your children’s school books. Print is essential in everyday life and we consume it without even noticing.

To celebrate our love of print, here are a few fun and interesting facts about this most popular of mediums.

The global print industry is estimated at $898 Billion USD! It is estimated to be 8 times bigger than the video game industry and even rivals the automotive industry. $17.7 Billion of that was attributed to the UK print industry alone.

The USA has the world’s biggest print market. Japan is the next, followed by China, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, France, Canada and India.

While printing was initially started in the early 1400s the digital version was not used until 1993 when Indigo launched the E-Print 1000 and started the printing revolution towards the digital process.

Digital inkjet printing is non-contact. The images, words and patterns that are produced are the result of inkjet nozzles that are controlled by a computer. The nozzles spray the desired amount of ink onto the desired area of the paper.

Direct Mail Marketing encompasses a wide variety of marketing materials, including brochures, catalogues, postcards, newsletters and sales letters. The response rates for direct mail marketing are 37% higher than email marketing response rates.

Printing has been found to be 43% less annoying than the internet. Customers are often perturbed by the large number of promotional emails and messages.

The retail cost of black printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet, far exceeding oil. In fact, it even exceeds the costs for the space shuttle fuel (on a per gallon basis). The average black printer ink costs over £2431 per UK gallon!

A 22 page Japanese book containing pictures of the flowers of the four seasons holds a Guinness World Book of Records entry for the world’s smallest printed book. It measures just 0.74mm x 0.75 mm.

Chef Homaro Cantu Printed FoodChef Homaro Cantu, of Moto in Chicago, started printing out sushi entrees using a Canon i560 inkjet printer with edible ink in 2005. His customers love his work (and his food) so much that they’re willing to pay upwards of $240 for his experimental tasting menu. His customer calls him a cross between a mad scientist and a gourmet chef!

Pictured right is one of Chef Homaro Cantu iconic creations - the Cuban Cigar Sandwich. 

The highest initial print run for a fiction book was one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. With an initial run of 12 million copies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (the 7th and last book in the series) has been the largest initial print run ever.

One would think Random House and Penguin Group are the oldest Printing Publishing Houses in the business, but they have only been around for a couple of hundred years! In fact it was King Henry VIII who spearheaded the printing movement in England. He granted a Royal Charter to fund the development of the Cambridge University Press in 1534. Cambridge University Press is actually the world’s oldest printing and publishing house and has been functioning since 1537. Cambridge has been operating nearly non-stop since 1584, when the first "CU Press" title rolled off its presses. Today it publishes over 2000 books and 150 journals a year across 200 countries.

Mexico had a working printing press more than 100 years before America. Mexico began printing operations in 1534, which was when King Henry VIII first granted a Royal Charter to fund the development of the Cambridge University press in England. The first printing press in America wasn't operational until 1639, when the Glover family arrived from England and opened a print shop in Cambridge, MA.

Forests in EuropeUsing paper is not as bad as some would have you believe. In Europe alone between 2005 and 2015 forests grown to supply the paper / print industry grew by an area the size of Switzerland! Each day European Forests grow by the size of 1500 Football Pitches. These planted forests in Europe are not replacing Natural Forests. 

Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products in the world today.

2.1 billion ha, or 52% of the world’s forests, are under management plans such as the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

61.5% of all paper in America is recycled, whilst in Europe that figure is 72%. That amounts to 2 tonnes of paper being recycled every second in Europe alone!