Rotogravure printing is similar to offset lithographic printing in that it is as rotary printing process involving rotating cylinders acting like a washing mangle in order to print an image on a piece or roll of stock. The difference to lithographic printing is that the image itself is etched on a metal plate that is actually attached to the roll that is printing directly onto the stock. It is known as an intaglio printing method due to the fact that the design for printing is etched into the metal printing plate. Rotogravure printing tends to work best with thicker stocks due to the leeway available when the etching presses into the stock itself. Examples of rotogravure printing include floor coverings and wallpaper, although paper stocks can also work with the process. It is a CMYK process which involves for 4 separate etchings of the same image that are each individual in their etching depth to match their CMYK values.
The process was developed in the late 19th century and was involved in major production by the 1920s. It has since developed into a world renown printing process. This diagram shows how it works:
This is a piece of packaging that has been designed to follow the Rotogravure printing process. This however, is using 8 process colours in order to create 256 different colours instead of the standard CMYK format.
Ringo Starr has clearly heard of the Rotogravure Printing process! This is his 6th album. Whether the vinyl covers produced at the time were printed with the Rotogravure printing method is unknown. It would be cool if this was the case though.
Be seeing you!