Close Registration

You don’t often see colored text on colored backgrounds in non-four-color offset print pieces, and there is a reason why.  An offset press runs a separate “pass” for each color used on a piece, and ink runs into the paper with each pass.  If you try to print small, text or line art inside a colored area, ink can seep and cause the colors to overlap.  A similar thing can happen if there are two large areas of color next to each other with no border or space (trapping).

In general, it is best to avoid print pieces with close registration (your printer or print broker can help you with this).  But, if your design is firm, there are some ways to avoid problems with registration:

  • Consider running your piece digitally instead of offset. Digital presses can do close registration pieces with no problem.
  • If there are areas where colors touch, try putting in a black border that overlaps the two areas slightly. The black border will hide any misregistration.
  • If you have text over a colored area, try to keep the text white/stock color (also called “reverse out”) or black. Black is forgiving, and reverse-out requires no ink.
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