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The Print Sequence Project

(July 2007) posted on Tue Jul 24, 2007

What's the best order to print the four colors in four-color process? A definitive conclusion has eluded even the most technical screen printers. Read on to discover how scientific experimentation has established a better answer.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Tricia Church

4. Make sure you have good registration and fit. This was a complex, long-term job, so it was not realistic for us to have substrates all stabilized perfectly to the same extent. And we are, after all, only learners. So our registration and fit were not perfect. However, careful inspection showed that this in no way affected the conclusions about the print sequence.

5. Always have a definition of truth. We used a high-quality color proof as our definition of truth. The definition of good color, good shadows, grey balance, etc. was taken to be the proof.


The test images

Different print sequences have different effects on different images. We therefore chose a child’s face with lots of difficult skin tone, a beautiful lily for aesthetic reasons (but this choice turned out to be important as we will see later on), a fiendishly difficult grey image, and some pretty tulips—including a duotone for educational purposes. In addition, we printed standard test strips from Linotype-Hell, including the all-important grey-balance test area.


The test sequences

We are very grateful for Michel Caza’s active intervention in our work. A member of the Board of the SGIA in the US and member of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology (ASPT), Caza is also one of the founders of FESPA and has been president of the French Screen & Digital Printer’s Association (GPSF) since October 2000. Based on his years of printing and teaching, Caza believes that his yellow-last sequences are highly effective. We were keen to see how they compar-ed to more conventional sequences.

There are 24 possible CMYK print sequences. Our mentors narrowed the choice down to six plus the two Caza sequences. This gave us CYMK (seq. 1), KCMY (seq. 2, Caza b), YMCK (seq. 3), MCYK (seq. 4), MYCK (seq. 5), YCMK (seq. 6), CMYK (seq. 7), and CMKY (seq. 8, Caza a).


The results


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