Print Registration

What Is It, and How Does It Work for You?

If you want your documents to look their very best, you need to pay special attention to the print registration.  Without it, your documents will not be clear and crisp.

What exactly is print registration?

It’s the way that printing machines make sure that everything is lined up properly.  Printers have tiny registration marks on them.  When it comes to web offset printing, those marks are little crosshairs that are on each printing plate.  When it comes time to print something, those marks have to be lined up.  If they’re not, your document can come out looking like a blurry mess.

Print registration is especially important for anyone who wants to print in color.

Print registration affects every document that comes out of your printer, but it can have the harshest consequences for colored documents.  To print in color, web offset printers use 4 basic colors – Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black.  Those colors can be combined to make virtually any color of the rainbow.  But to do it, they need good print registration.

If, for example, you need to print something in green, your printer will release a little bit of Cyan ink and a little bit of Yellow ink.  The two colors will come out in layers to create the proper green.  But, if your print registration marks aren’t lined up properly, those layers of colored ink will not be in the right place, and you might wind up with something that doesn’t even resemble green!

So, how do printers make sure that the registration marks are lined up?

When you go to print something on a web offset printer, the computer reads the positioning of each registration mark, and makes sure that they’re all in the right spot.  If one of the plates is in the wrong spot, the computer can make tiny adjustments so that everything is aligned properly.  In fact, computers can work with lightning speed – making several print registration adjustments every second!

What can a good print registration system do for you?

The better your print registration system is, the faster your printer can work.  Newer print registration systems have cut down on the time it takes for computers to make adjustments – meaning that documents can be printed faster.  With a good print registration system, you can double or even triple the number of impressions created in an hour of printing.  And, you can rest easy knowing that each impression will look crisp and clear!