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All You Need to Know About Magazine Printing

Updated on December 9, 2011

Magazine Printing - Gentleman's Magazine


Magazine Printing

Concept of the Magazine

The magazine is a small yet informative medium of popular communication. The magazine can cover all manners of topics and is seemingly so attractive due to its high glossy packaging. However, magazine printing costs can also relatively low when approached correctly which makes it a favourable avenue for company promotion and awareness.

One of the most popular magazines, with high readership is ‘Time Magazine,’ who can boast a global base of over 25 million people. Another creditable example is ‘People Magazine’ whose online website draws in up to 51.7 million page views per day.

Magazine History

‘The Scots Magazine’ is the oldest consumer magazine still in print, however due to multiple changes in ownership over a span of 90 years, ‘The Scots Magazine’s ownership, since 1739, has constantly been under question. ‘Lloyd’s List’ is a daily business newspaper that was thought to have been founded in Edward Lloyd’s English Coffee shop in 1734.

‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ is an example of one of the first general interest magazines. First published in 1731 in London, under the editor Edward Cave, who employed the pen name ‘Sylvanus Urban’ who first coined the term magazine. The term magazine is believed to have originally derived from the Arabian Mazhazin analogy of military storehouses of varied material.

Branching from these early developments, the magazine has become an excellent and popular resource. In the UK there are approximately 2,600 magazines sold every minute, and the magazine industry is predicted to be worth over £1.6 billion. Companies are recognising the potential of the magazine printing business and most major media businesses offer their publication in this format.

Distribution of the Magazine

Magazine printing distribution is varied and efficient. Ranging from: direct-mail solutions to subscribers, sales at newsstands, bookstores and news-agencies, pick-up and increasingly now, through digital editions available online.

The Printing Processes

Magazine printing processes depend on the best quality delivered with the most efficient cost, time and delivery options. Two of the main types of magazine printing are offset printing and rotogravure printing. Each will be explained below:

  • Offset Printing

Offset printing is oftentimes used because of its advantages of delivering consistently excellent quality, a very quick setup of the press at a relatively low cost, a substantial benefit in magazine printing.

The actual process involves the transfer of an inked image onto a plate which is transferred (or offset) onto a rubber blanker. This image is then transferred again onto the printing surface using a multitude of rollers. This process can be combined with the lithographic process which involves the repulsion of oil and water which keeps the non-printing areas ink free. This technique was developed in the United States in1903 by Ira Washington Rubel.

  • Rotogravure Printing

Rotogravure printing therefore is a type of ingalio printing. Rotogravure involves engraving the image onto a cylindrical image carrier. Similar to offset printing, rotogravure employs a rotary press which allows for a high volume of commercial printed magazines, postcards and product packaging - such as corrugated cardboard.

The Future for the Magazine

The rise of the mobile industry means that more than ever information is accessed on the go. This also applies to the magazine industry whereby magazines are now widely available on digital format. The rewards and potential international awareness the magazine online can reach is undeniable. Apple are one such headliners for this technology, their introduction of the smartphone and tablets means that information is now designed for the digital era. Whilst sales of magazines and the printing medium is still a multi-million pound industry, the digital cannot be ignored and spells the future of the magazine.


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    • drawnindigital profile image

      Luke Faragher 6 years ago from London

      Anyone thinking of publishing a magazine?