Monday October 09, 2017

Ink Coverage: A closer look


Are you tired of seeing the vivid colors on your screen turn into a muddy brown once printed, or having objects “rubber stamp” themselves on opposing pages of a book or magazine? No worries. This article tells you all you need to know about excess ink coverage and how to solve the issue in a heartbeat.

Ink coverage: what’s in a color?

As you already know, any color on paper is actually a mixture of inks printed on top of each other.  For example, 100% magenta and 100% yellow will equal red with a combined ink coverage of 200% total area coverage.

More complex colors such as brown might look like 45% cyan, 60% magenta, 100% yellow and 40% black or a combined coverage of 245% total area coverage.

Excess ink coverage occurs when there is so much ink accumulation in a given area.  Combine excess ink coverage with press gain and certain colors can shift towards a muddy brown tone or leave areas of ink wet, which can cause a “rubber stamping” effect when folded or stacked, especially under any level of pressure.

How much ink is too much?

The upper limit of maximum total area coverage is commonly governed by industry standards which considers the following:

  • The type of paper*
  • The printing process (heat-set vs. cold-set offset, for example)
  • The intermediate drying time between several colors
  • Press speed

* The less g/m², the less ink coverage paper can take. It is particularly important to take this into account for web printing (printing from a roll instead of a sheet, e.g. newspapers), as too much ink can cause the web to break.

Avoiding excess ink coverage by preflighting.

It goes without saying that controlling ink coverage is crucial to allowing the output device the best chance for success with regards to color reproduction and overall quality.  Start using PitStop now to run preflight checks to scan documents for information that might exceed the maximum limit of total area ink coverage.  Use built in DeviceLink Profiles for near perfect CMYK to CMYK conversions to reduce total area ink coverage to within the desired range.  Your printer and most importantly, your customers will thank you for that added level of quality assurance

Want to check for total ink coverage in a PDF?

PitStop Pro can calculate the total ink coverage in a PDF file automatically.

Try PitStop Pro for free or learn more


About Piet De Pauw

After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Graphic Arts, Piet started his career as a software support engineer at Esko. This immediately made him realize the vital importance of automation within an organisation.

Passionate about the web, he became an online marketer at Thomas More university college, gained a lot of digital marketing experience and re-joined Esko in the Enfocus business unit.

Today he's in charge of driving interest for the Enfocus automation solutions. As you're reading this after reading an entire article, he might think he succeeded...

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