By Rahul Shetty, Brand Consultant


History of Printing?


The history of printing starts as early as 3500 BCE when the proto-Elamite and Sumerian civilizations used cylinder seals to certify documents written in clay. Other early forms include block seals, hammered coinage, pottery imprints, and cloth printing. Initially, a method of printing patterns on cloth such as silk, woodblock printing originated in China around 200 AD and was transferred to paper by the 7th century, leading to the spread of book production in Asia. The movable type was invented in the Song dynasty in the eleventh century but it received limited use compared to woodblock printing. Woodblock printing was also used in Europe until the fifteenth century when a process for mass-producing metal type and the printing press were invented to support an economical book publishing industry. This industry enabled the communication of ideas and sharing of knowledge on an unprecedented scale. Alongside the development of text printing, new and lower-cost methods of image reproduction were developed, including lithography, screen printing and photocopying.


Since then, we have come a long way, but how did we get here?


  • Woodblock printing: 200
  • Movable type: 1040
  • Printing press: 1440
  • Etching: 1515
  • Mezzotint: 1642
  • Aquatint: 1772
  • Lithography: 1796
  • Chromolithography: 1837
  • Rotary press: 1843
  • Hectograph: 1860
  • Offset printing: 1875
  • Hot metal typesetting: 1884
  • Mimeograph: 1885
  • Photostat and rectigraph: 1907
  • Screen printing: 1911
  • Spirit duplicator: 1923
  • Dot-matrix printing: 1925
  • Xerography: 1938
  • Spark printing: 1940
  • Phototypesetting: 1949
  • Inkjet printing: 1950
  • Dye-sublimation: 1957
  • Laser printing: 1969
  • Thermal printing: 1972
  • Solid ink printing: 1972
  • 3D printing: 1986
  • Digital printing: 1991


What is 3D Printing?

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced cross-section of the object. 3D printing is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which is cutting out / hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic with for instance a milling machine. 3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.



3D Printing Industry

The adoption of 3D printing has reached critical mass as those who have yet to integrate additive manufacturing somewhere in their supply chain are now part of an ever-shrinking minority. Where 3D printing was only suitable for prototyping and one-off manufacturing in the early stages, it is now rapidly transforming into a production technology.

Most of the current demand for 3D printing is industrial in nature. Acumen Research and Consulting forecast the global 3D printing market to reach $41 billion by 2026. As it evolves, 3D printing technology is destined to transform almost every major industry and change the way we live, work, and play in the future.


Changing the Design Process

For instance, part of the furniture business that has traditionally required significant time and financial investment is the design process. Prototypes have to be made, models tested and pieces reworked to reach a final product. 3D printing streamlines, simplifies and reduces the cost of designing furniture. Being able to create lightweight furniture prototypes quickly and inexpensively with 3D printing enables designers to test their creations more thoroughly and maximize the beneficial features in the finished product.

A rapidly growing number of furniture design firms are experimenting with 3D printing, and the results have been quite creative. With less production and design expenses, 3D printing lets companies develop furniture that is as beautiful to look at as it is functional. The One Shot stool, designed by Patrick Jouin, is a 3D-printed piece that folds up to save space when not in use and elegantly fans out when an extra seat is needed. Its aesthetic is unlike that of most other stools, and that’s what makes the One Shot’s design so attractive to those who like modern furniture.




The Bridgegap verdict

3D printing could as well break conventional entry barriers of capital & operational expenditure of getting into the manufacturing sector. We are currently witnessing a rise in 3D printed automotive components, modern medicine, cars, and even houses! Players in the home decor industry that are looking at offering bespoke items for their customers can definitely look into 3D printing as a viable option.