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EDINBURGH CERAMICS   46 BALCARRES STREET   EDINBURGH   EH10 5JQ   telephone 0131 452 8145

Digital Ceramic Printing: multiple definitions
Digital ceramic printing has various definitions, leading to confusion rather than clarity.

Revised 2008



Is this a description of 'digital ceramic printing'?-

Some of the 'ceramic printing' being promoted as short-run or one-off digital printing onto ceramic surfaces, (eg. tiles, mugs, plaques or commemorative ware), is not really a ceramic process at all. It involves printing with materials which are in effect coloured plastics, then applying and melting the plastic images into position. This is a low temperature process involving an 'oven' which bakes the plastic layer onto whatever substrate it encapsulates. Colours are impermanent and the baked plastic-coated ceramics must be handled with special care, to avoid damaging their surfaces or fading through exposure to direct light.

Edinburgh Ceramics' digital printing process uses strictly ceramic materials, providing strength, permanence and reliability.


Perhaps this is a type of 'digital ceramic printing'?...

Other processes have been tried, with varying results. Some of these involve multiple firings connected with the successive application of individual ceramic colours. This approach has obvious drawbacks, including the environmental and economic costs of firing each product several times over.

Edinburgh Ceramics' process involves only one firing, giving clear advantages.


Or maybe this is 'digital ceramic printing'?-

Among those involved with digital printing and ceramics are deliberate obfuscators, who see no advantage in clearly describing the processes they use, nor offering adequate explanations regarding image permanence, surface durability, nor guidance on the parameters of their product's suitability for purpose. The nature of such 'ceramics' is uncertain.

Edinburgh Ceramics' process and products are described clearly, giving confidence that Edinburgh Ceramics' digital ceramic tiles will be 'fit for purpose'.


Or is this what is meant by 'digital ceramic printing'?-

Some choose to focus on the process of image-making using 'digital' techniques. This description is technology-driven, in effect a process-based design definition, by which only images created by a computerised process could be described as 'digital'.

All digital ceramic tiles produced by Edinburgh Ceramics are ceramic tiles which have been printed with ceramic materials and fired through high temperatures in a ceramic kiln. Digitisation is a method we use to translate any design into ceramic form; a means to an end, not an end in itself. While technical perfection will always be a production goal, true 'quality' resides within each unique design, not in the method of its invention or realisation.


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