The first known example of printing originated on the Greek Island of Crete. The Phaistos Disc as it has come to be known is 15cm in diameter and features a range of symbols on its face. Scientists and historians alike have suggested that this is likely the earliest known example of a product made by printing techniques.
From the Phaistos Disc to the modern day 3D technologies, our fascination with printing is undeniable. In the last 10 years, the cost of inkjet printers has reduced substantially and what once cost several hundred dollars now costs well under $100. This development has led to an increasing number of printers in family homes which are delivering high quality printing for reasonable prices.
Typically ink cartridges are the most expensive element in printing technology and historically they were the catalyst in driving up overall prices. Even as machine prices declined, the costs associated with replacing cartridges could well exceed the cost of the printer itself.
Today, printing companies continue to innovate at rapid rates resulting in lower cartridge prices and socially responsible practices as they relate to this developing technology. Independent companies have begun to manufacture ink cartridges which are compatible with name brand printers thus creating fierce competition in the market and driving prices down. This market development alone has saved consumers hundreds of dollars per year.
Beyond this, the ethical concerns of consumers are also being addressed by printing companies. Waste resulting from technology is a growing problem throughout the world, but in an effort to address this issue, HP was the first company to develop recyclable ink cartridges.
This meant that the cartridges themselves were manufactured using post-consumer recycled plastics. Individual cartridges contained anywhere from 70-100% recycled materials which in turn saved energy, kept millions of pounds of plastic out of landfills every year and greatly reduced the environmental impact of some of the world's largest companies. Not only this, but many printing stores offer refills for ink cartridges, allowing customers to save money and contribute to recycling themselves.
Today, such practices are commonplace throughout the printing market. The printing industry is one that continues to innovate and as such, the possibilities of home printing have reached unimaginable levels of quality and distinction. Cartridge prices are lower than ever and are regulated by competition and an increased demand from customers for ethical and sustainable production methods. The result is a range of products that allow the home artist, writer and printing enthusiast to print beautiful crisp images and text that are sure to rival Phaistos’ disc in terms of longevity and quality.
Image by innovate 360, used under Creative Comms license