Ink coverage

Age old question here: Is it the designer’s responsibility to correct the right amount of ink coverage or is it a prepress thing? In my 20 years of doing this, I’ve never had someone come back to me and tell me to fix it.

ink levels were never a designer responsibility since 1984,
I printed using an ABduick, Multilith and silk screened in 1996, 2016.

but the world has changed lately were a select people can make up their own rules to appease such egos,
even if science and logic defy their reasoning…

If the printer requests it you can look into it.
Typically it’s a prepress thing and not much for a designer to worry about.

That’s what I thought. I just thought it was really odd.

As mentioned, it’s typically a prepress thing, but…

When specifying screen tints, some level of understanding about avoiding ink density issues combined with a bit of common sense is needed. For example, I once had a new intern create a rich black using 100% of all the process colors, which turned to mud on the press.

In general, any screen tint with a combined ink density of over 300% is too much. For that matter, almost no CMYK color combination requires that much ink to produce.

Photos are another matter, though, since designers don’t specify the ink densities in them. Some of the print-on-demand printers require photos with low ink densities. For example, Ingram-Spark asks for photos with ink densities no greater than 240%, which most photos will exceed in spots. In those instances, I’ve needed to adjust the densities in Acrobat.

Thanks for the helpful information. This was for a ad going into a newspaper and they requested the ink coverage to be no greater then 260. I think they said my illustration was 280, so it wasn’t much.

The dot gain for newsprint is enormous (I used to work at a newspaper). Ink densities that would be fine on coated stock turn into brown mud on newsprint. It helps to always use the newsprint color settings in the Adobe apps. Make the darker values lighter than you think they should be because the halftone dots will grow, fill in, darken up, and lose detail.

Good to know! Thank you!

Whenever my clients contract with a new printer I ask for the contact in prepress and I send them a list of questions. TIC is one of them. Some say it’s an adjustment I need to make, others say it doesn’t matter and to send the files as is.

I asked this same question awhile back. I’ve always checked for TIC before sending off to print. Three years ago I took over a magazine and most of the ads were being supplied by other designers. I had a small revolt on my hands, because none of them seemed to know what it was, and it wasn’t something they were checking for. I had an ad with 400 from one designer and others at 360 and 340 from another. They thought I was power mad. I said this is the clients printer and these are their requirements, and the designers are responsible for submitting their files at these specs.

So, ask prepress. It will vary by printer.

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