DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS: PRINTING25 Four-Color Lithography

The technique used to print full-color images, such as photographs, is referred to as four-color process or process printing. Four semitransparent or translucent inks are used: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. They are often abbreviated as CMYK.

Two graphic techniques are required to prepare images for four-color printing. In the “prepress” stage, original images are translated into forms that can be used on a printing press, through “color separation,” and “screening” or “halftoning.” The next step is the creation of printing plates that transfer color impressions to paper on printing presses. Prepress experts, who work at the printing company, handle these processes. The designer is ...

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