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All necessary documents for the production of printing forms in the various printing processes are referred to as printing templates .

In the narrower sense, printing templates are the two-dimensional templates that are required directly for the production of the printing form, which are created as a result of the repro technology and usually consist of films. Since the introduction of digital printing plate exposure ( CTP ), the data required for producing the printing form, such as image and PDF files, have also been referred to as printing templates.

History of the artwork

One of Albrecht Dürer's three master engravings: Knight, Death and the Devil
Lithography stone

Before photography was invented around 1835, printing templates consisted of either handwritten texts or drawings and painted pictures. Hand setters , lithographers and artists had the task of producing the appropriate printing forms and printing blocks from these templates . The typesetters used individual letters to create the sentence based on manuscripts , the lithographers drew, engraved or dotted according to black and white or colored templates and wrote texts on the lithographic stone, and the artists mostly produced monochrome woodcuts , wood engravings , etchings , copper and steel engravings .

In the second half of the 19th century, especially after the invention of the glass engraving grid in 1881, there was an increasing number of photographic recordings for printing. These were rasterized in repro cameras and, after manual processing, copied from the plate or film onto the printing form. Line or raster photos were made of drawings and colored pictures and graphics were used as templates for so-called photographic color separations for multi-color printing. Manuscripts created with typewriters replaced the handwritten texts as printing templates and were set in individual letters or in lines on typesetting machines .

From 1950 there were the first printing templates in the form of color prints or slides . The color and black and white photographs were mostly retouched by positive retouchers. From the color originals, the repro photographer created color separations in the form of halftone negatives or halftone negatives on photographic plates or films with the help of color filters . The task of color lithographers or gravure retouchers was to correct these color separations manually. At the end of the 1950s, a photographic masking process was developed so that manual corrections were hardly necessary. In so-called composing , images, texts and graphic elements were copied together to form smooth end films and were used as templates for printing plates.

Old reproduction camera
Photo typesetting device "diatype" from H. Berthold AG

At the beginning of the 1960s, photo typesetting replaced metal typesetting and the text templates were delivered on film. At the same time, drum scanners developed and produced electronic color separations. In letterpress printing, clichés were produced with the help of the clichéograph , while in rotogravure printing the helioklischograph provided the corresponding artwork. Electronics advanced inexorably and the first EBV systems were developed in the late 1970s . Print templates were more and more delivered in the form of digitized data. On the computer complete artwork created on film for all processes in the printing industry. For a number of years there have been several parallel process routes in artwork production. Until the 1990s, both conventional and electronic procedures existed side by side. It was only through the further development of computer technology for desktop publishing that conventional methods were largely displaced. The Apple technology in particular influenced electronic image processing and page design. Image design software such as Photoshop , Corel Draw , Illustrator and FreeHand together with TIFF and PostScript data formats made the data transfer possible .

In the computer-to-plate process (CTP) (from 1993), the offset printing plate is imaged directly with computer data in an imagesetter, without going through a film. Something similar happens in gravure printing, in which the gravure cylinder is engraved directly from the database. The latest development since 2008 is called Computer to Press or Direct Imaging , a process with which the printing plates are imaged directly in the printing machine. This eliminates the need to manually clamp and set up the printing plate.

Job titles

In earlier centuries there were a large number of professions involved in the manufacture or processing of artwork. These included the high-pressure timber cutters , hand translators , machine translators , photo coasters , Metteure , stereotype Eure , Galvanoplastiker , repro photographer , Chemigrafen , Klischeeätzer , trimmer and printers . In lithographic printing , there was the font, chromo, engraving , photo lithographers and repro photographer and lithographer . In gravure printing Repro photographers Tiefdruckretuscheure, Tiefdruckätzer and gravure printers were working. For all three printing processes Graphic artist, was a commercial artist , Positivretuscheure, commercial photographers and poster artist worked.

From 1974 onwards, many professions in the individual printing processes were combined. The names were partly different between the Federal Republic and the GDR. So there was a comprehensive printing template manufacturer in the fields of repro photography , repro retouching and repro preparation . In the GDR these professions were called skilled workers for typesetting technology, reproduction technology and printing form manufacture . As of 2008, the apprenticeship that covers all printing processes is called media designer with the fields of consulting and planning, conception and visualization, as well as digital and print , whereby only the last two fields deal with print templates.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e development of repro technology, accessed on January 6, 2010 ( MS Word ; 63 kB)
  2. Professions in the field of printing and media, accessed on January 6, 2010 ( Memento of the original from April 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /


  • Helmut Kipphan (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Printmedien. Springer-Verlag, November 2000. ISBN 3-540-66941-8