Printing has come a long way from its origins of being carvings and scratchings on hard surfaces - but hasn’t seen much change in modern methods as printing techniques have become standardised for different purposes. There are many different types of printing available to suit each need;
Offset Lithography - Often referred to as litho printing, and also likely the method that many think of when it comes to larger printing methods for mediums such as banners. The method involves the manufacturing of printing plates which hold the image of what needs to be printed - the plates are then transferred on to either flexible rollers or rubber blankets before going on to the print media - litho printing is quite versatile in the print material you can use, heavier material such as canvas and cloth are options that are great for durable banner printing. This method of printing is also suited very well for higher volume print work, but can also handle smaller volume too. The one drawback is that as there is a reliance on printing plates, flexibility around changing design isn’t available without bigger delays and as such, per set of plates you’re restricted to singular design.
Screen Printing - Another of the more traditional print mediums that is better suited for larger volumes in bulk, and doing so in that fashion is a cost effective form of printing. Much like litho, it can handle smaller orders but again not as cost-effective as the flexibility around the changing of imagery isn’t there. The process involves using a fine material or mesh in which ink is pressed through in order to transfer the image - the materials that this form can be used on are a little more limited but for paper and fabric, but if you’re looking for a traditional method that can handle bulk, it does serve as a viable option.
Large Format Printing - Exactly what the name suggests, this printing method is used for larger scale media such as signage, billboards, and of course banner printing. You may have seen this medium used for billboards and buildings - large format uses rolls of print that incrementally come together to produce the final image. This is by far the biggest scale option available to you for any type of larger scale banner work, and great for making a huge impact on your customer.
Digital Printing - The most modern and the most flexible in terms of design available to you. Many will be familiar with the household inkjet and laser printers, and the larger commercial counterparts work in very much the same way but with a little more precise calibration required. The big benefit to digital printing is that the use of digital files means any change to design or requirement can be accommodated very quickly - you simply amend the PDF or request that in-house designers do this for you, and another run can be printed without much hassle. Larger scale print work in digital may be a little more difficult as the bigger you get, the likelihood you lose some fidelity in the design - although this can be offset if the original design is done with that factor in mind. This method of print also isn’t as cost effective when larger runs are required - but it does serve as a great choice for the right job, including flyer and leaflet printing.
Modern printing methods are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future and many of the print methods used today will continue to be used in the future - understanding what your requirements are and the platform in which you’ll be using it will be the best way to decide which method to go with.