The advent of printing
Main article: History of printing
During the Tang Dynasty (618–907) wood blocks were cut to print on textiles and later to reproduce Buddhist texts. A Buddhist scripture printed in 868 is the earliest known printed book. Beginning in the 11th century, longer scrolls and books were produced using movable type printing, making books widely available during the Song dynasty (960–1279).
During the 17th-18th century movable type was used for handbills or trade cards which were printed from wood or copper engravings. These documents announced a business and its location. English painter William Hogarth used his skill in engraving was one of the first to design for business trade.
In Mainz Germany, in 1448, Johann Gutenberg introduced movable type using a new metal alloy for use in a printing press and opened a new era of commerce. Previously, most advertising was word of mouth. In France and England, for example, criers announced products for sale just as ancient Romans had done.
The printing press made books more widely available. Aldus Manutius developed the book structure that became the foundation of western publication design. This era of graphic design is called Humanist or Old Style. Additionally, William Caxton, England’s first printer produced religious books, but had trouble selling them. He discovered the use of leftover pages and used them to announce the books and post them on church doors. This practice was termed “squis” or “pin up” posters, in approximately 1612, becoming the first form of print advertising in Europe. The term Siquis came from the Roman era when public notices were posted stating “if anybody…”, which is Latin for “si quis”. These printed announcements were followed by later public registers of wants called want ads and in some areas such as the first periodical in Paris advertising was termed “advices”. The “Advices” were what we know today as want ad media or advice columns.
In 1638 Harvard University received a printing press from England. More than 52 years passed before London bookseller Benjamin Harris received another printing press in Boston. Harris published a newspaper in serial form, ‘Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick’. It was four pages long and suppressed by the government after its first edition.
John Campbell is credited for the first newspaper, the ‘Boston News-Letter’, which appeared in 1704. The paper was known during the revolution as “Weeklies”. The name came from the 13 hours required for the ink to dry on each side of the paper. ‘The solution was to first, print the ads and then to print the news on the other side the day before publication. The paper was four pages long having ads on at least 20%-30% of the total paper, (pages one and four) the hot news was located on the inside.' The initial use of the Boston News-Letter carried Campbell’s own solicitations for advertising from his readers. Campbell’s first paid advertisement was in his third edition, May 7 or 8th, 1704. Two of the first ads were for stolen anvils. The third was for real estate in Oyster Bay, owned by William Bradford, a pioneer printer in New York, and the first to sell something of value. Bradford published his first newspaper in 1725, New York’s first, The New York Gazette. Bradford’s son preceded him in Philadelphia publishing the American Weekly Mercury, 1719. The Mercury and William Brooker’s Massachusetts Gazette, first published a day earlier.