HPG asks: How does color ‘work?’

HardingPoorman Group has been blogging about color. Why? Because it’s something many take for granted, and printing high quality color is key to building an attention-getting finished product. Offset lithography has been called ‘the workhorse of printing.’ Let’s take a look at how the CMYK color process works in offset printing:

  • Before anything is printed, the document must be converted from digital files. Images from the digital files are transferred to printing plates.
  • When the plates are exposed to light, a chemical reaction occurs that allows an ink-receptive coating to be activated. Each CMYK color -- black, cyan (blue), magenta (red), and yellow -- has a separate plate. This is often called the four-color printing process.
  • On the press, the plates are dampened, first by water rollers, then ink rollers. The rollers distribute the ink from the ink fountain onto the plates.
  • The plate itself does not actually touch the paper -- thus the term "offset" lithography. All of this occurs at an extremely high speed.

Although many commercial printers utilize this type of printing, the quality of the finished offset printed product is due entirely to the expertise (and equipment) of the printing team. HPG takes pride in our state-of-the-art printing technology AND our terrific team of color experts.