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It’s all about the print

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Has the world moved away from print publications?  Do you do more online advertising than print?

For most of the world, everything has gone digital.  Our favourite daily newspapers all have an online version and many magazines are following suit.  But what about your own marketing efforts?  Do you believe that digital is enough?

With so much digital information to wade through should anyone be looking for something specific, unless you have your ads placed very strategically online, backing up with print will always remain a given.

So understanding the print process and what it involves is something that everyone should familiarise themselves with even if it’s just to gain a limited broad-spectrum knowledge.  That way, when you do want to get something printed, you won’t feel out of your depth when your printer and designer turn on their print jargon.

Let’s explore Colour first :


CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. They are called Process Colours. The idea behind this is that you can duplicate almost the entire colour spectrum. Almost all printing that has colour, especially any that has full colour photographs, uses process colours. The images are made up of several dots, in varying densities, which, when placed so tightly together give the illusion of other colours. If you were to take any magazine and look at it through a magnifying glass, you would see several coloured dots, of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Spot Colours  (Pantone)

Spot colours are the opposite of CMYK. They are solid colours, not a mix of several others. When you look at spot colours on page, there will be no dots. It will be solid. The only exception is when a spot colour is laid down with a screen, which means trying to make it appear lighter by using dots to spread the ink coverage. The dots will however, still be only one colour.


RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. This is another colour system that is used to match the entire colour spectrum as well. RGB is used mostly on digital displays. The images you see on your monitor use RGB. That is how monitors, TVs, Phones, etc. interpret colour. When RGB colours are used in printing, they need to be converted to CMYK for the presses. While this sounds useful and simple, there is often something lost in the translation between these two colour schemes. To get the most accurate colour, it is always recommended that images are converted to CMYK for print or RGB for digital.

Taking a look at images, there is also some terminology that we should be aware of and these are :

Raster and Vector Images

There are two main types of Images; Raster and Vector. Vector images are made of solid lines so that they can grow or shrink as much as you want and still keep smooth edges and retain quality. Raster images are made up of several dots or pixels. Depending on the resolution of the picture/screen the image can have more or less dots. The more dots, the better the image quality. As you increase the size however, the dots don’t replicate to retain quality, they stretch. When they stretch you loose image quality (commonly referred to as an image being “pixelated” or pixeled). This does not mean Vector is better than Raster.

Line Art

Line art is simple black and white images (or any 2 colours), created from solid strokes. Most people seem to think the term “Line” means straight lines. Line art is really just an image not made up of dots. They are simple and usually print well.

Halftone images

Halftone images are pretty much all images made up of dots. By placing dots of varying shades and colours in certain patterns and different densities you create the illusion of an image. The farther away you look at the dots or the more there are, the more solid a picture looks.

Yes, printing is complex and that’s why MFP Design is here.  We are the experts and we can help you.

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