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The Problem: I am working on a project and I wanted to add super fine print (words and graphics). When I say small I am not referring to 7pt type at 300dpi business card small. I am referring to something you would see on security items or the small graphics/words that appear on currencies etc.

The Question: The question is would a 1pt word on a 600ppi document translate if printed on a printer that could print at 600dpi. Does this scale even lower at higher resolutions.

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In such case you may have to use something like soft raster image processor. Anyway you can try to rasterize your artwork to bitmap and manually correct it, then print it and try again. –  amrok Feb 2 at 11:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You are talking about microprinting. The whole idea of that, is that you cannot reproduce it by using printers or printing presses. It is engraving that are designed to trip up professional counterfeiters. So, no, I can´t see how on earth it would be possible to pull off. (of course, if you have unlimited resources and good connections in shady parts of town then maybe).

Here are Wikipedias snippet on microprinting.

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It has been a decade or more since I worked with typesetters, but the plate resolution is over 1200dpi, so fonts less than 1 point are definitely possible when using real ink presses and printing plates. You just have to use the tools that output to the typesetters the printing shop you contract with uses –  KeithSmith Feb 2 at 3:34
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Hi @KeithSmith - if am I wrong, go ahead and give it as an answer, that would benefit us all. –  Random O'Reilly Feb 2 at 11:01
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@boblet No you are not wrong. It is not possible to print microprint using 600dpi inkjet printers. It is possible to print microprint using typesetters, printing plates, and printing presses. What I was trying to point out is microprinting is not difficult to obtain. It isn't done with inkjet printers. I'm sorry if I caused confusion. I thought I was helping the OP that getting microprint items is not difficult, just talk to a real printing shop, not a Kinkos or Staples. –  KeithSmith Feb 2 at 16:39
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Ah, I see what you mean; and it is a good addition, I think you should add it as an answer. I used to work in offset printing years ago, and though we never had the request, I think it would have been rather tricky. It also depends a huge amount on the paper you print on. –  Random O'Reilly Feb 2 at 17:28
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+11,000 on the Wikipedia reference. I never realized that the signature line on a check was micro-printed. Looked at it with a loupe and was amazed. –  Ray Mitchell Feb 3 at 20:29

One outfit I used to work for did security borders for credit cards. These were typeset at least 10x the size of the original and reduced photographically (this was about 20 years ago). One option would be to find an outfit that still does film composition and use them. Some late model imagesetters will also go up to 5000+dpi resolutions, which might be enough to render a security strip.

However, this is only going to be possible through a pre-press process and offset or gravure printing, which will have significant up-front costs.

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