How Magazines are Made

Gutenberg Printing Press

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century changed the world in terms of books and literature. It enabled mass production for the first time in history – hundreds of copies of Bibles, almanacks, newsletters and pamphlets could be printed with ease.

Historians generally believe the first example of a magazine was a periodical called ‘Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen’, by German theologist Johann Rist, in 1663. Translated into English, its name means ‘Edifying Monthly Discussions’. It ran for five years and similar periodicals soon appeared in England, Italy and France.

The name ‘magazine’ was first used in 1731, with the advent of the Gentleman’s Magazine. It comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘warehouse’, a place which stores a large quantity of goods – an analogy that was used to describe a publication that contained a large amount of useful information.

In the early years, printing costs were high and the number of copies being printed couldn’t be more than 100,000 because of limitations on the amount of paper the printing press could hold. Distribution was also a challenge, due to the difficulties in moving large amounts of magazines any great distance.

Magazine production today has come a long way, with the development of technology in the digital workplace making it possible to print publications cost-effectively and quicker than ever before. Printing companies can handle the whole process in-house, from the design stage through to delivery.


Design teams using the latest software can produce print-optimised artwork. Clients can either hand over an exact design themselves or they can leave it to the creative team to come up with the artwork. When the client hands over their own artwork, it will be meticulously checked over to ensure that it’s press-ready.

The next stage of the process is proofreading, which is done in-house and then by the client. There are a few different ways of doing this: a PDF proof can be emailed, a ‘hard’ proof is printed off or a ‘wet’ proof can be carried out while the magazine is on the press.

Production is completed on either a lithographic press or a digital press, depending on the job specifications, as each type of printer has different capabilities. The finishing process is carried out to bespoke specifications and can be completed by machine operators or hand finishers.

Finally, the delivery part of the process is easier than ever before, as printers can offer competitive rates for bulk deliveries or large planned mailings thanks to their relationships with Royal Mail and international couriers. There are various options available, including standard, tracked or timed.

It has never been easier to print and distribute magazines, with one printer handling the complete process from start to finish. LEFA Print offers a range of contract rates for regular and high-volume printing work. This ensures consistently reliable production, finishing and delivery throughout the process. We also provide bespoke printing services, print partnerships and creative finishing – all at very competitive rates. Please contact us for further details.

Similar Posts

Digital Printing History
The history of Digital Print
Oldest Christmas Card
Where Christmas Cards Began