What Is Four Color Process Printing?

4-Color CMYK Registration Mark.Keeping things aligned.

Four-color process printing uses four ink colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These four colors are superimposed individually, one after the other, onto the surface of the item being printed on a press. It is necessary to print the image one separate time for each separate ink color so that they may blend to make the full color appearance of the final image. The inks overlap each other in various concentrations on the paper to create the visual effect we know as full color printing.

Each color must line up precisely with the other colors in order to produce an accurate and in-focus print of the original artwork. Even a slight shift in position of one of the four ink colors will cause the printed image to appear blurred or fuzzy.

In fact, this can happen with any print project with more than one color…alignment is critical; any misalignment is obvious to everyone. One-color printing, on the other hand, is not concerned with ink registration since only one ink color is used.

So that the final image is consistent, sharp and in focus, and so each of the colors line up correctly, a system of registration is necessary. In color printing, registration is the method of correlating overlapping colors on one single image.

Registration is also known as “precision alignment” and “placement of printed images.” Proper registration—usually a set of precision marks on the final art but outside the print area—means that any impression on the paper occurs in the precise position as intended. Conversely, the registration is said to be “off” if any element of the print job is misaligned or displaced.

We recommend you get us involved early in the creative and design process so the design of your finished printed piece can be optimized for the best possible registration and visual appeal.

For questions, just send our experts an email. We are here so you can get your job done!

Tags: digital - offset



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