Industrial printing press printing a magazine

Print text and Digital Text, How printing Evolved




Now when the word prints comes to mind what exactly do we think of first?🤔 Most likely physical books and old scrolls during the age when printing with ink became popularized. However, what about the creation of email? Word documents on computers? And other apps that host the ability for users to create and publish their writings digitally? According to J.D. Applen, this is considered the “late age of print.” 


We look back into Applen’s writing of “Old Media, New Media, and Knowledge” and learn more about the importance of print and How technology has revolutionized the very concept of printing.

Applen explains that writing is an important aspect of every culture as it holds information that can be passed down for years to come. However, with the introduction of technology and the digital space, there are no other means of publishing that do not need to go through traditional hoops. Additionally, Information can be saved forever in digital prints rather than physical prints like books that can be broken or destroyed. This makes it so that traditional printed textbooks are becoming less indispensable. 

Because of the worldwide use of digital prints being the preferred option to publish, it has become more accepted and on a level with traditional publications. This can be seen by scholars printing their journals, newspapers, and magazines both traditionally and online. I see this as an Understandable evolution to sharing information. Sharing both in traditional and digital prints, allows the scholar or author to expand their reach to their targeted audience. This way, they keep their traditional audience who are used to printed text to gain information, and they unlock a new audience who are used to digital text to gain information. This is all thanks to the advancements in technology.

Old text through Penmanship

What is interesting, however, is how even with advancements in technology and the need for perfect penmanship is not needed, individuals can still display their character through their digital texts. I touched on emojis being text briefly in my last post, but emojis or “Emoticons” serve a purpose in displaying emotion and meaning behind digital text similar to traditional writing. Through traditional writing, one could gauge the writers’ character through their penmanship. This is because it is believed penmanship reflects the writer’s personality.

 Have a small penmanship? That means you are most likely shy and reserved. Have big penmanship that takes up the majority of the page? You might feel confident and proud of yourself. Scratchy illegible penmanship? You were probably a sloppy, disorganized person.

Modern text through Emojis

Now in the modern Era one might assume that the ability to gauge an individual’s character is gone because of technology. However, emojis can actually boost 📈 the meaning of text and reflect the writer’s personality. . I mentioned emojis briefly in my previous blog that emojis are an important part of text.

“Hey, That was funny.” Is good on its own, but add emojis and, “Hey, that was funny 😂.” Now the message is clear without much miscommunication. Additionally, it makes the writer seem less hostile and friendly. Other examples can be, “Man I’m dead💀” “I’m gonna do something BAD😈” or even just “🥹💕”. These examples carry enough information for the reader to understand and enough to understand the writer’s character.

Applen does bring up an important topic by Birkerts that digital communication can flatten the importance of traditional printing. To that, I would argue, that technology does not, and more so, it expands on the information. Applen cites Birkerts saying that going to a traditional library emphasizes “historical perspective” rather than searching things up online. However, what if the library contains biased perspectives of history? Or that it carries nothing of what interests you? “Historical perspective” becomes null when it is not the central concern of the reader. By using digital search engines, the user can easily engage with the information as it is easier to find, giving more time to critical thought of the digital text rather than time of searching in a library.


Overall, the writing form of print has evolved greatly over time. From traditional books to digital information being published, information has become more accessible than ever before. Messages can still reflect a person’s character whether through emojis or penmanship which is important for their target audience. Lastly, digital spaces allow users to engage with their information quicker than that of traditional spaces.


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