Reproducing Type

From screen to proof, to press, results are not always identical. Remember the screen is two dimensional, a print is three dimensional and yet a proof is not on the same substrate or created with the same process as the final print.

When designing with type, the designer must take into consideration the reproduction method, and communicate the above nuances with their client to insure accurate proofing and client satisfaction.

Keep the following points in mind when designing with type:

  • The four color printing process can result in fuzzy, blurry or simply weak type. The use of a spot color, or building your text of 100% and 50%+ of another process color will eliminate this concern. Paper stretch and press cylinders varying in size also have an effect on the final shape of each character.
  • Serifs can look faint or drop out altogether, pending combinations of printing and substrates.
  • Reverse type will fill in and become illegible on an uncoated sheet.
  • Thin type can become optically overpowered if surrounded by a large solid or dominating pattern, when used on a coated sheet.
  • Engraving offers the crispest of type. The inks are more opaque than offset and are excellent for capturing the detail of fine serifs. Text will usually be more legible than offset type and the same size.
  • Foil stamping can ruin the most elegant text. Inconsistencies in the foils release will mean missing serifs, broken type or fuzzy edges. The use of upper case sans serif fonts may help eliminate these issues.
  • When screen printing, each press and screen varies, you should first consult your printer about the possibilities of weak edges and type that lacks crispness.
  • Thermographic printing may flatten type, resulting in a slightly darker appearance on press. However, the powder used in this print creates a more opaque ink, making this a wonderful solution for imaging type on dark stocks.

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