I recently ran into another pre-press dilemma for one of my newsprint clients. Of course the phone call came in the day after my print deadline, while I was in the eastern Utah backcountry. So there I was, standing on a rock, trying to get enough cell reception for a 5-minute phone call. There wasn’t much I could do 1,000 miles away from my office, but the problem was this:
I often use colored boxes or gradient sidebars with black text on top of them. I find it helps give color to the page, and adds some visual interest to an otherwise monochrome copy space. I had never had a problem with these in the year and a half that I have been designing this particular publication. Yet, the printer informed me that this time the black text was overprinting, causing rich black text in the colored sidebars. As mentioned in my previous post on rich blacks, small rich black text is a big NO-NO. Even the slightest misalignment in plate registration can cause the text to become illegible. Below is an example of what the overprinted text came out looking like. In print, it looks blurry and over-saturated.
The first step to correcting this problem is realizing it is there. So, when you are checking your output PDF in Adobe Acrobat, go to Advanced>Print Production>Output Previewer. Hover the cursor over the overset black text. If you have exported incorrectly,it will look like this:
As you can see, the black text is actually built of 100%K, along with the ink blend of the color beneath it. In this case, the ink limits are 200% or higher, and the built blacks will cause my text to be fuzzy or illegible. Fortunately, it is an easy fix. In Adobe InDesign CS4, simply go to the Edit>Preferences menu and select “Appearance of Blacks”. A dialogue box will appear with all of the Preferences menu items on the left, and “Appearance of Black” as the active item. Make sure that the drop-down menu called “Printing/Exporting” reads “Output all blacks accurately”. Then, UNCHECK the checkbox below that says “Overprint [Black] Swatch at 100%”. As follows:
This will cause any overset black text to knockout the ink below it, instead of adding 100% to the existing color ink blend. Now simply export as you usually would, and double-check your ink in the Acrobat Output Previewer. Ta-da!
There you have it. A simple step you can take to make sure your overset black text comes out looking crisp and legible. Hope this simple tutorial helps you!