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A selection of pantone colours is fanned out in a colour swatch formula guide chart

Celebrating International Print Day – printing facts by numbers

At Brother, print is the core of our DNA, so we're thrilled to be taking part in this year's International Print Day, helping print trend the planet.

During the 24-hour event on October 23, we will join in with the global print conversation, which this year has the theme of #print2gether, much like our business motto, "At your side".

To coincide with the celebrations, we’re sharing 10 facts on how the industry has been printing together in a number of ways, ranging from a miniscule 0.0092 mm² to a record-breaking 5 billion:


  1. 0.0092 mm² – the size of the smallest inkjet-printed colour image ever according to the Guinness World Record1. The printout, which is smaller than the head of a pin at 2mm, was a picture of Clownfish. It contained at least 256 colours and was achieved by a team of eight people in Zurich, Switzerland in 2015.

  2. 5-7 – is the number of times that printer paper can be recycled2. Its ability to be recycled is lowered after every reuse as it’s made up of long fibres and every time it is recycled, fibres are shortened. After five to seven uses, fibres become too short to be made into printer paper, but its life doesn’t stop there as it can then be used for newspapers or egg cartons. The life of printer paper can be extended through printing double-sided.

  3. 1439 – is the year when it all began for printing as Johannes Gutenberg developed mechanical moving type printing – or the printing press3. Long before Brother arrived on the printing scene, Gutenberg’s contribution to the evolution of the printed word earned him the moniker the ‘father’ of print.

  4. 1656 – the year of the launch of the oldest newspaper in Europe, the ‘Opregte Haarlemsche Courant’ in the Netherlands4. The paper, which is still published, merged with the newspaper ‘Haarlems Dagblad’ in 1942. It outdates Britain's oldest surviving Sunday newspaper, the Observer, by 135 years, France’s Le Monde by 288 years and Spain’s El Pais by 320 years.

  5. 1661 – was the year paper banknotes were first created in Europe by Swedish bank Stokholms Banco5. Travellers such as Marco Polo introduced banknotes to the continent during the 13th century.

  6. 1,867 – the number of solid pantone colours that can be printed6 – which shows just how far we have come since black and white printing. Since the millennium, the Pantone company has issued a colour of the year to reflect current trends. 2019’s colour is Living Coral (pantone number 16-1546).

  7. 1869 – just 39 years before Brother was established in 1908 - the first picture postcard was introduced in Austria7. Early versions reflect the ones still widely available today, with pictures of famous landmarks, scenic views, photographs and cheeky illustrations. Despite a more digital world today, it is believed that globally there are still over 2 billion postcards sent every year, with holidaymakers taking the opportunity to say ‘wish you were here’ to loved ones.

  8. 2500. B.C – when ink was first developed simultaneously by both ancient Egyptians and Chinese8. Early examples of ink were made from the limited materials available including soot from wood smoke and animal fat, thickened with the gelatine from skins.

  9. 12 million – is the largest initial print run ever recorded for a book. This was for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows9 when it was released in 2007.  The novel broke the world record of number of books sold within 24 hours of its release.

  10. 5 billion – the number of copies sold and distributed of the world’s most printed book – The Bible10. It’s estimated that the full Bible is translated into 349 languages and 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language.

Find out more about Brother’s history in numbers and discover how we have been "At your side" for the past 111 years by watching our Threads Through Time video.

Join us in celebrating all things print on October 23 by using the hashtag #print2gether.

Looking to upgrade your own printer? Explore Brother's range of inkjet and laser printers.

1 https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/397951-smallest-inkjet-printed-colour-image/
2 https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/science/21qna.html
3 http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/997
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_newspaper_publishing
5 https://www.riksbank.se/en-gb/about-the-riksbank/history/1600-1699/first-banknotes-in-europe/
6 https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/articles/technical/pantone-numbering-explained
7 http://www.oldderbyphotos.co.uk/postcard-history
8 http://www.realcolorwheel.com/ink.htm
9 https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2018/10/5-page-turning-book-facts/
10 https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/

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