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How To Tell Good Quality Offset Printing From Bad

Can you tell good quality offset printing from bad? Well, each print job is different but we are talking about the overall quality of the job.

1. For a good quality printing job, the printed area must be straight in relation to the top and right edge of the paper. Get a ruler or straight edge and see if it is straight. You can also put it on a light table and use a T-square to check it for accuracy. If it is crooked, make the printer aware of it and have him reprint it, or tell him that next time, it must be straight or you won't accept it.

2. Make sure the piece is positioned correctly top to bottom and left to right. Measure the job to be printed and compare it to the final job, and the dimensions should match exactly, top to bottom and left to right. If it is a new piece, tell the printer the dimensions of the image area from the left and from the top.

3. There should be even ink density across the sheet for a good quality offset printing job. Look to see if the ink colour on the left side and the right side are the same. A press is not like a copier, it has ink keys to allow more or less ink through onto the printed piece. Make sure the ink is even across the sheet. If it is not, bring it to the attention of the printer.

4. Check the ink density or fill. Look at the letters and solids on your printed piece to see if there is solid ink coverage throughout. If the fill is bad, the ink might have too much tack and need to be reduced, many things could cause this. Once again make the printer aware.

5. The ink colour should not be different between press runs. This is the most difficult one to determine. Have you picked up a job and taken it back to your office and noticed that the colours are different? One is lighter or darker. When placing the order, take in the piece with the colours you like and have them match it. There is no extra charge and it should be the same every time. Make them do it. For harder to match colours such as light grey etc, ask them for more information.

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