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Print registration

“Registration” means the alignment of the printing inks hitting the paper. Misregistration can make edges look fuzzy and even discoloured.

This is primarily an offset press problem. As I said in Module 4, press operators use “registration marks” to help them prevent this problem, but it’s not an exact science, and it’s very difficult to achieve perfect alignment at high speed.

Digital presses should be less prone to misregistration, but poorly-aligned ink nozzles can happen from time to time if the machine is not diligently maintained.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst

We must have faith that print shops will do their best to print in perfect registration; but we must always be awake to the possibility that they won’t. Therefore:

Always assume that registration will be inaccurate

I will be mentioning this regularly throughout the class. It goes hand-in-hand with the other mantra:

Always assume that trimming will be inaccurate

“Gee Damien, are printing firms really so sloppy?” Not at all. But mistakes happen, and we must prepare for them.

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