By Margie Dana and Mike Taylor
While reading the Sunday New York Times, I noticed the colored dots you see in the accompanying photos. They’re register marks used to help the printers ensure the colors in the full-color images are printing properly. (You see these particular colors because they're the four process colors used for full-color printing: Yellow, Cyan, Magenta and Black.) I wanted to hear more technical detail from someone in the newspaper business for the “story behind the story.” I reached out to Mike Taylor, Print Manager for the OC Register in Santa Ana, CA. Mike took one look at these pictures I sent and contributed to today’s Tip.
These color dots can be in many shapes and are usually located in the spine of the newspaper. They’re called targets, and they’re for the pressman to align all of his color pages.
In the past, all newspapers were black and white with no color printed pages; hence no registration was needed. But things have changed. Today, with so much competition from magazines and now with the Internet, it is very important for newspaper publishers to offer advertisers beautiful color pages.
You can charge more for color (and earn more revenue), and from a reader’s perspective, the paper also looks much nicer. From a pressman’s point of view, once these dots or crosshairs are sharp (all four colors are aligned), they can start running “keepers”: i.e., good copies. Once these target (registration) dots are sharp, all of the full-color pictures should be nice and sharp also.
As the press continues to run good copies, the pressman will keep an eye on these dots and make adjustments as needed to keep the color aligned. The reason you are seeing these dots on newspapers is that the majority of newspapers have upgraded the older presses with new, state-of-the-art color management systems for a couple of reasons. The main reason you are seeing these is the importance of running more and more color pages (because of more color advertising) with tighter registration.
Advertisers want to see nice-looking color ads, and the paper itself is running more color pictures. The second reason deals with paper waste. In the past, this was not a big deal, because paper costs were not a serious issue. Today, paper costs are skyrocketing, so it is very important to get the color registration up and running very quickly, eliminating bad copies that can only be recycled.
© 2012 Margie Dana and Mike Taylor. All rights reserved. You’re free to forward this email. However, no part of this column may be reprinted without permission from the author.antivirus software comparison