Beautiful graphics, such as the Runo Summer Ray design by Heini Riitahuhta for Arabia, are reproduced on ceramics by transfer printing.
Ink is printed onto a decal, or bat. This is placed onto the surface of the piece. During firing, the high temperature causes the inks to be drawn into the glaze to create a smooth and durable finish.
The ink is transferred directly, so the quality of reproduction is determined by the printing process. In the past, the decal was made by copperplate printing. Nowadays, digital printing, screen printing and offset lithography are all commonly used, depending on the volume of parts being printed.