On Dribbble, a lot of the work you see lives out its life online. Work which is printed is most often printed digitally onto product labels, magazines, and so on. But there’s a whole world of printing techniques out there, each of which produces a unique aesthetic. We wanted to take a minute to give a very brief overview, with examples, of three prominent manual printing techniques.
Block printing is a very accessible way of DIY printing, where areas meant to maintain the surface color are cut away from typically either wood or linoleum, leaving a raised design to be inked and pressed onto the paper or cloth like a stamp. We’ve been noticing an uptick in the use of different forms of block printing by designers on Dribbble.
Riso printing is also on the rise. Dribbbler Ryan Putnam talked with our own Dan about it on his episode of Overtime. While it technically isn’t a manual method, it is very hands-on, so we felt it deserved a slot here.
Risograph printing can essentially be thought of as digital screen printing. Artwork must be prepared in a similar fashion, separating colors by layer, with similar limitations kept in mind. Since paper jams are possible (and easy to achieve) on riso printers, any given ink layer will never be completely opaque, giving riso prints a translucent, light feeling.
Most of us are familiar with screen printing. It’s a common method in which some form of mesh or screen is used to transfer ink onto a surface, but is blocked intentionally by areas which maintain space for the original material to show through, or for screens of different colors to be added later. Screen printing is very popular due to its simplicity and is most readily seen on posters and cloth goods such as totes and tees.
Live screen printing has been a more and more regular sight to see at events, as it’s engaging and provides product-on-demand. In fact, our very own Seattle Hang Time Playoff was for a chosen design to be live screen printed at our after party!