I'm wondering if anyone is able to shed any light on how something like this would be made. I've been told it was designed in Photoshop, and a HP Officejet was used, and that it was printed, scanned back in with different settings, messed around with, and the process repeated. I think it looks as if a Xerox was used and there was low toner, or that parts of the ink is missing in places. Anyone got any ideas? Maybe it was designed in Photoshop, printed out and scanned back in then had textures applied over it inside Photoshop? If it was done in Photoshop then I don't know how it looks so real

I'm also interested in how the edges around the text and illustrations are roughened, and look imperfect.

Would appreciate any help.

Before degradation

After degradation Another example Another example Another example

  • 4
    Whats wrong with photocopying?
    – joojaa
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 19:02
  • 4
    What goes around comes around - people are now struggling to recreate what any University Union gig poster would have actually looked like in 1975...
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 19:05
  • What have you tried? We're not here to provide free work. Perhaps add your own attempt so we could help you get through a blocker stage.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 10:18

2 Answers 2


Original image from unsplash.com

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  • Menu Image → Mode → Grayscale
  • Duplicate the layer
  • Menu Image → Adjustment → Threshold

enter image description here

  • Menu Select → Color Range → Highlights
  • Make a new layer and fill the selection 100% black
  • Deselect
  • Menu Filter → Filter Gallery → Graphic Pen / Horizontal

enter image description here

  • Menu Filter → Stylize → Wind


  • Cmd + Shift + D Mac or Ctrl + Shift + D Win to reload the selection
  • Make a Layer Mask
  • Click the mask, menu Filter → Other → Minimum
    • Optional: menu Filter → Blur → Gaussian Blur, to soften the edge


  • Holding Cmd Mac or Ctrl Win click this layer thumbnail to load the transparency selection
  • Click the Threshold layer and make a Layer Mask

enter image description here

  • Menu Image → Duplicate Image → Duplicate Merged Layers
  • Menu Image → Adjustment → Threshold
  • Menu Image → Mode → Duotone





I would start with a bit of blur, followed by jacking up the levels, add noise and repeat. Mix in some artful burning and dodging after the blur to keep everything from looking too even. Liquify can help recreate that warped effect that comes from making copies of copies. Then, of course, there is an actual photocopy filter built right into Photoshop. Good luck!

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