Please advise, what is this style of graphic art called? It's when the artist intentionally "colors" outside the lines.



And is it a difficult art form that requires a premium/experienced (and hence more expensive) artist?

Also, what are its pros/cons? Can it be vectorized effectively?


It seems to be replicating a fault common in printing called misregistration, but deliberately for effect.

It happens when printing plates are misaligned, or when running printed sheets several times through a printing press to overprint additional colours, but without the correct positioning settings, or when sheets are misfed into the press by the sheet feeder.

Does it have any cons? Yes. Usually professional printers strive to prevent misregistration. It's seen as a fault.

Does it have any pros? Possibly, if you want to make your work look deliberately faulty. It could be viewed as some kind of allusion to poor quality printing, for a kind of retro/grunge effect.

I'd avoid overuse of this kind of effect, otherwise the danger is that it could just make your work look like a badly printed document. It's OK for a bit of fun I suppose.

I suspect it was probably already made using vector image editing software. There would certainly be nothing to prevent you from using that kind of software to recreate it.

  • 1
    I might be to much of a purist here, but to me it can look ridiculous if the misaligned colors aren't two separate inks but consists of a dot screen mix of multiple inks. That could never happen in print and it seems strange to meticulously design and print with great precision to give the illusion of bad precision. At least the colors should be multiplied to give the illusion of overprint. – Wolff Apr 5 '19 at 15:32
  • @Wolff I would agree totally, but then deliberately faked grungy effects seem to be the "in thing" at the moment. Perhaps it's because everything in print generally looks perfect or is expected to look perfect, and by creating effects like these, people think it makes them look more quirky. Who knows!! I added a warning about overusing such effects to my answer. – Billy Kerr Apr 5 '19 at 15:37
  • 1
    Another warning: If it's offset print, tell the printer that you have made this effect deliberately! I have seen printers going insane trying to align the unalignable. :-) – Wolff Apr 5 '19 at 15:44
  • @Wolff LOL, yeah! ;) – Billy Kerr Apr 5 '19 at 15:51

I don't know the exact name. I can tell you that it can be vectorized because I would say it has been made in Illustrator. It shouldn't be a very hard job to do, so you wouldn't need a very expensive designer.

Pros/cons? I think it looks good, and you could apply your own color scheme which is a good thing. Only con I can think of is that it would look silly if you where to print it and you could only use black and white.


I wouldn't call this "art form". It's a style to color icons or other shapes. Drawing, sculpting, creative dancing, composing music, etc... earn name "art form".

In Illustrator, Inkscape or other vector drawing program you simply duplicate an object, say a circle. One of the copies gets a color fill, but no stroke. The other gets a stroke, but no fill. Then you move the filled version a little aside, maybe one arrow click upwards and leftwards.

That's all, I bet your boss do not give more money to you, if you learn it. It's only to know few clicks. But one can get fired, if he cannot do it, when he's ordered to do it.

I would avoid this style. Bad printing makes it without asking and many people have worn eyes which make them see shapes doubled or tripled even when seen only with one eye.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.