I'm looking to place the color proof/test somewhere on the printable area of a box. The problem is that I don't know what they are called and where to get information about them (pattern, template, etc).

These patterns I believe are designed and placed to ensure print quality.

  • Registration marks.
    – ckpepper02
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


It's common to refer to these elements as "registration marks" but that's not completely accurate. There are multiple components:

  • Registration marks: thin lines/circles on multiple axes to detect misalignment between color plates. This is what the "Registration" swatch is commonly used for.

  • Color bars: solid and screen value blocks of color (sometimes multiple over-printed colors) used to check density and dot formation.

  • Trim marks: to indicate the trim lines. The "Registration" swatch is used here as well to put trim marks on every plate's output.

  • Slug area: a place for noting various pieces of information pertaining to the document, client, production expectations, contact info, etc.

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Here's the more complete version of the reference image posted in a previous answer. It comes from Adobe's documentation and does a nice job of concisely presenting all the terms.

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They are correctly named printer's marks.

Printer's marks are industry standards and are automatically produced by professional software prior to making printing plates. DO NOT attempt to construct your own artwork as it may mislead professionals who depend on the reproducibility of the design configuration.

Each design serves a specific and particular press function.

There are many different marks for tracking quality or for indicating operations that will be used in finishing the printed piece. Printer's marks are used to indicate the printed area, the area to be trimmed away from the finished piece, scoring, folding, punching, corner-cutting, die-cutting, drilling and other assembly.

In addition, the different patterns and colours can be used to troubleshoot press problems and also to ensure colour fidelity.


I believe you're talking about registration marks.

Forgive the 3d rendered stock img, but I'm assuming that's what you're looking for. I'm not really a print designer, so this knowledge is just fuzzy memmories from print production classes.

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They are called Registration Marks. They are used by screen printers to align the colors CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).

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If you've ever looked at a newspaper and noticed some of the color was out of alignment it's because the printers alignment wasn't quite spot on.

See an example of misalignment below:

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