With workers' hands moving on the back of paper gently, characters would be printed on the paper.By the Song Dynasty, woodblock printing came to its heyday.If books had a small print run, and were not reprinted, the printing plates would become nothing but waste; and worse, if a mistake was found, it was difficult to correct it without discarding the whole plate.When he wished to print, he took an iron frame and set it on the iron plate. When the frame was full, the whole made one solid block of type. When the paste [at the back] was slightly melted, he took a smooth board and pressed it over the surface, so that the block of type became as even as a whetstone.Movable type (US English; moveable type in British English) is the system and technology of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document (usually individual letters or punctuation) usually on the medium of paper.The world's first movable type printing press technology for printing paper books was made of porcelain materials and was invented around AD 1040 in China during the Northern Song Dynasty by the inventor Bi Sheng (990–1051).The metal type pieces were more durable and the lettering was more uniform, leading to typography and fonts.
Following the invention of paper in the 2nd century AD during the Chinese Han Dynasty, writing materials became more portable and economical than the bones, shells, bamboo slips, metal or stone tablets, silk, etc. Yet copying books by hand was still labour-consuming.The designs of the artists who made the first coin punches were stylized with a degree of skill that could not be mistaken for common handiwork—salient and very specific types designed to be reproduced ad infinitum.Unlike the first typefaces used to print books in the 13th century, coin types were neither combined nor printed with ink on paper, but "published" in metal—a more durable medium—and survived in substantial numbers.Although woodblock printing played an influential role in spreading culture, there remained some apparent drawbacks.Firstly, carving the printing plate required considerable time, labour and materials; secondly, it was not convenient to store these plates; and finally, it was difficult to correct mistakes.The printing press may be regarded as one of the key factors fostering the Renaissance The technique of imprinting multiple copies of symbols or glyphs with a master type punch made of hard metal first developed around 3000 BC in ancient Sumer.These metal punch types can be seen as precursors of the letter punches adapted in later millennia to printing with movable metal type.Not until the Xiping Era (172–178 AD), towards the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty did sealing print and monotype appear.It was soon used for printing designs on fabrics, and later for printing texts.As the portable face of ruling authority, coins were a compact form of standardized knowledge issued in large editions, an early mass medium that stabilized trade and civilization throughout the Mediterranean world of antiquity.Seals and stamps may have been precursors to movable type.