Tips for Four Color Process Printing

What Is Four Color Process Printing

Rules of Four Color Processing

Tips for Four Color Processing

Drawbacks of Four Color Processing


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Four color process printing is a type of printing process where an image is separated into 4 different color values. The separation is done by using filters and screens. Nowadays the process is carried out digitally. The result is a color separation of 4 images that when transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press with the colored inks cyan (blue), magenta (Red), yellow and black, reproduces the original color image.

Here are some great tips to get fabulous results using four color process printing.

  1. When scanning images from photographs for printing, it is better to save them in the .TIF or .EPS format to preserve the color and sharpness of the image.
  2. Scan images using a resolution of 300dpi at the final dimensions you want to use them.
  3. If you are using unusual Fonts in your layout, make sure you check with your printer to ensure he has the fonts as well.
  4. Do the RGB to CMYK conversion of your images yourself so you know exactly what to expect.
  5. Don’t colorize small text. It is ok to use colored text for large titles and up to a 12-point size. Anything less than that prints best in solid black.
  6. When printing text on a photograph background, lighten the photograph a whole lot more than you think is required.
  7. Bleed is a printing term used when the image goes right to the edge of the paper. The best way to create bleeds is to make your document .25” too big on both dimensions. Then draw guides on the document that are .125” from the edge all round. Create the artwork with the idea that the layout will be cut off where those lines are. However, let any photographs or background go clear to the end of the document past the guidelines. Once the piece has been printed, the printer can trim the .125” extra from all the sides and this will give you color all the way to the edge of your piece.
  8. Studies have shown that the use of four color process printing increases readership by 40% or more. A university study also showed an increase in retention of over 65% when four color process printing was used rather than plain black and white.

These are just some simple tips to keep in mind when going for four color process printing.

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