Using transparency within Print/Illustrator

Hi All,

I am wanting to confirm print practices within illustrator for print, apologies if I have submitted this in the wrong section.

I am making a document within Illustrator that uses 3 shapes layered over each over with varying levels of opacity for my work. I remeber seeing somewhere that when printing one should avoid transparency.

Could anyone confirm this is true or false and if so what is the best way to combat it?

If anyone needs some visual reference please let me know and i will try to attach a document showing the above, thanks in advance.


False. Except when it comes to spot colours.

Talk to your print provider. Supply samples.

You should send a pdfx4a

But you can flatten all transparency using pdfx1a version 4

False. You can use transparency in print.
But as Smurf mentioned, using transparent spot colors can often cause issues. Sometimes serious ones, but printers (mostly) know how to handle these now. Unexpected things can happen though. Get a proof.

What you can’t do is control what the color mixes will be at the intersections of your transparent shapes. Guaranteed they will NOT look like what you see on your monitor. Always get a proof.

Have I said, get a proof?

I recently had a job where a color did not render on screen as it actually printed. It was a spot color that was nearly black. On screen it rendered a much lighter green. Designer multiplied more almost black-green art over the top of the almost-black green background. When printed, it was a big black box. Multiply black over black gives you black. We had to cut the tint back almost 50% to get the transparency overlays to print correctly. Just sayin. No proof would have been a very disappointing $20,000 pile of prints… yeah, 5-figures, outta someone’s pocket - and it wouldn’t have been the end client…