I have some experience with offset printing. I always have to take into account the color registration issue when preparing a file for print. Now I have to prepare for digital printing. Is it true that for digital printing I don't have to worry about color registration because it comes out from the machine in one pass?

Example: in offset I have to overprint small black text on top of an image, if it was a knockout the colors could fall out of register and there could be colorful fringing or paperwhite silhouette around the text. Does this apply to digital printing or not?

One more question: in digital printing - does the job actually print in one pass, or are there also machines that print in separate passes like in offset?


Digital printing uses essentially a high end color copier. You need not concern yourself with anything you would normally disregard for copying. The only caveat may be color profiles. There are times where RGB may work better than CMYK for digital printing, but not always. You need to check with the print house to review their preferred file set up.

That being posted, you certainly wouldn't do any harm by setting overprints, even if they don't translate to the digital printer. I, personally, configure everything correctly for offset. Then if digital printing is used, it doesn't really matter. If anything, I merely alter PDF settings when creating a the print-ready PDF.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, does it mean that in fact in digital printing there is no overprint? What would happen if I overprint this black text on top of an image? Does it ignore overprinting or will it actually print over the image? – Aardo Jan 16 '18 at 17:28
  • It RIPs the file to a single image.... then prints the image. Really not much different than if you were to flatten everything to a Tiff.. then print the Tiff. It will, customarily flatten things with overprints in mind. So if you have an overprint of a color causing a color shift, then that color shift should appear on the print, but technically it doesn't actually overprint anything (single pass). – Scott Jan 16 '18 at 17:31
  • .. and this all refers to standard 4C printing.. throw in spot colors and things can be different. Most digital printers don't support spots. There are a couple which do apparently, but their color range is limited from my understanding. I've never personally attempted spots with digital printing. I convert everything to CMYK. – Scott Jan 16 '18 at 17:50

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