Thursday March 01, 2018

Just knock it out! Tackling the challenges of reversed type

Getting white or light-colored text to really take center stage on a dark background can be one tricky task. In fact, reversed type or knockout text, as printers like to call it, not coming out right is one of the ten most common printing errors. Fortunately, printing reversed type is not just a matter of keeping your fingers crossed. There is plenty you can do in the prepress stage to get those white elements looking just as great in print as they do on screen.

1. Slightly bigger is better

Although some processes have no trouble printing reversed type as small as 8 point, 10 point is the recommended minimum.

2. Keep it sharp

When it comes to choosing between serif and sans serif for knockout text, sans serif is your best friend. Serif fonts have the tendency to lose some of their sharp edges when printed as reverse type.

3. Dare to be bold

Opt for a bold font if possible. The thinnest lines of reversed type should be at least 0.5 point or 0.15 mm wide.

4. Steer clear of script fonts

Keep away from script fonts, as they are often too delicate for reversed type and turn out illegible.

5. Mind the gap

Don’t hesitate to increase the space between letters and between lines to improve legibility.

6. Jack up the contrast

Increase the contrast between text and background as much as possible. Is your mind set on printing reversed type on images? If so, be sure to add a slight drop shadow to the text.

7. Don’t let them overprint

Before sending your design off to the printer, do a final check to verify if white elements are set ‘knock out’ instead of overprint. If white elements are set to overprint, they will basically end up disappearing. Keep in mind that the color white in design applications means no ink and is different than white ink.

Knock out reversed type automatically

Avoid mistakes in the future. Simply have PitStop Pro take care of reversed type for you with the click of a button!

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About Andrew Bailes-Collins

PitStop Pro 2018

Andrew Bailes-Collins is Senior Product Manager at Enfocus.

He graduated from what is now the London College of Communications and went on to serve an apprenticeship as a compositor. He has worked for a number of vendors in the printing and publishing sector, including Scangraphic, Apple and DuPont/Crosfield.

Andrew has been Prepress Manager for several high-quality printing companies in London, managing the change from conventional production techniques to digital. An early adopter of computer-to-plate and PDF workflow, Andrew then worked at OneVision Software for ten years. Initially based in the UK, before rising through the company to become Head of Product Management Europe at their head office near Munich in Germany.

Andrew joined Enfocus and moved to Belgium in 2011 and is the Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop family of products. He is also the Technical Officer for the Ghent Workgroup and Co-Chair of the GWG specifications sub-committee.

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