Traditionally, the word stationery has been used to refer to a variety of office supplies, such as paper, pens and pencils, greeting cards, glue sticks, paper clips, and other office supplies. But the original term “stationery” referred to all products sold or supplied by stationery. This stationery store was defined as a retail store or fixed location usually near a large educational institution such as a university that supplied school supplies.
But the actual word “stationary” was used before stationery shops were established and date back to the 13th century, referring to The Stationers’ Company which dominated the manuscript and printing industry in England.
did you know that The Stationers’ Company was the first company to create, use and enforce copyright laws? Many of today’s copyright laws are merely extensions of the laws that have gained relevance today.
Stationery, as it is now considered, is often a personal item or item used for writing and has become an important part of business and social etiquette. This “stationary label” has changed considerably since Victorian times when it was first popularized and defined by companies such as Crane & Co.
With the advent of the electronic age, the use of paper products has changed and many offices around the world have gone paperless. This has forced personalized Brochures and Stationaries into a niche market that is constantly threatened by electronic media.
Paper products are and will always be linked to personal written communication. It is mainly used by individuals and companies who have a budget for its use. Therefore, a variety of different and sometimes expensive printing processes are used to produce paper products. The best-known and most used printing processes are letterpress, embossing, and thermographic printing.
Letterpress is a printing method commonly used to produce stationery that requires printing characters, designs, and patterns onto the page. Printing is usually in one color.
Embossing is a popular printing technique used to create raised surfaces on paper. This printing process can be seen on both the front and back when used and is extremely popular with corporate printing and personal paper.
Thermographic printing is an inexpensive printing process commonly used for desktop mass printing. The process itself is printing with ink that stays wet. The ink only dries when it is dusted with a polymer powder that adheres to the ink.
The author is a print specialist from Cape Town who has worked in the South African printing industry for over ten years. He is an avid printing technology blogger and has written a number of historical and technical notes on specialty printing and specialty printing processes such as stationery printing.