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The movie poster first made its appearance at a time when the world was experiencing the industrialization of special printing processes. The poster was used extensively in all forms of advertising, and this was particularly true with the early movie industry.

Over the years, the movie poster went through many changes, some of which were the direct result of evolutions in printing processes. The earliest posters were printed using a process called stone lithography.

Posters printed through stone lithography were rich in color and tone. Heavier card stock posters, just as lobby cards, inserts and window cards, were initially printed using a rotogravure process. In the 1920's, these card stock materials were produced using the photogelatin or heliotype process. Less colorful than stone lithographic versions, posters printed through this process were designed for close viewing only.

By the 1930's, color offset printing was introduced and many of the posters, particularly one sheets and larger sizes, were printed using this new process.

For years, studios utilized both the offset printing and lithography processes simultaneously. The two posters resulting from these processes can be distinguished by the fact that lithographic posters show the grain of the litho crayon while, under magnification; offset posters show the mixing of the dots which are used to create the colors.





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