When I use a typeface I have seen in print and output the copy on my laser printer, the type is always lighter than what I saw in print. I assume this is because offset printing causes some spread of the ink, making the character lines thicker.

Is there a way to reproduce the darkness of printed type when doing one-off jobs? This could be for either when I just need one copy or want to see exactly what the printed product will look like.

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Offset printing doesn't generally cause spreading of the ink. Although it might depend on what paper it was printed on. Can you share an example image showing what you are trying to match? Not sure it's possible to answer this without seeing something. There are plenty of fonts which are Variable Fonts these days, and you can adjust the weight to whatever you want. Maybe have a look at these.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented May 4 at 16:16
  • 2
    The answer depends on your printer, most likely not.
    – joojaa
    Commented May 4 at 16:17
  • I do make use of optical sizing when available, though it rarely is for me. For a convenient example, take ITC Golden Type. They made great effort to match the printed image. If you compare the type sample from Identifont or MyFonts with the sample page at Wikipedia "Golden Type", the regular weight does match the printed page. However, if you install the font and laser-print a sample, you will see that the printed page falls between the Regular and Bold in weight. I use mostly revivals of old typefaces and this is a constant issue.
    – Deqanix
    Commented May 4 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


This related question gives a lot of background on factors that cause the differences in printed look.

To imitate the look of offset printing, one answer suggested using an inkjet printer and cheap 20# typing paper.

It is also suggested that it may be worth trying a high-end digital printer at a shop.

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