Three Colors, A World of Possibilities: How Color Printers Work

Three Colors, A World of Possibilities: How Color Printers Work

We take color printing for granted these days, but if you really want to understand just how valuable this technology is, try to use an ancient Chinese woodblock print to make a copy of your next presentation and you will be thanking your printer out loud. Incredibly enough, the old-style woodblock printing technique was one of the very few ways people were able to make copies of things for centuries. Luckily though, times have changed and color printing has made the possibilities endless for people interested in creating incredible projects.

The Three Color Technique: the Foundation of Modern Printing

Although the woodblock technique worked for many centuries, it wasn’t until the invention of mechanical color separation that the three-color technique came into existence. The three color technique utilizes the primary colors cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow as well as black to create a veritable kaleidoscope of colors. Of course, since there were no computers, this process had to be done with photographs taken with color filters. This was a much faster process than the old woodblock technique, but it still took a long enough time for people to want a faster solution. Soon, they got one.

Modern Color Printing Creates Complexity From Simplicity

Can you believe that all the colors you can see in a modern color printing project are still produced from three (technically four) colors? It’s true: through the use of the three primary colors and black, a color printer can produce thousands of colors through a combination of digital technology and plain-old tricking the eye. Although printing processes have changed quite a bit since color printing was invented, generally color printers separate an image into three color components to deduce the amount of each of the three inks will be needed to create an accurate copy of the image being analyzed. Next, the printer applies the correct amount of each ink color and adds a black separation that sharpens the image and prevents it from looking muddy. The result is a clear and accurate reproduction of the original image!

Use Clear Color Images and an Attractive Design

It’s a well-known rule that documents hold people’s attention better if they include color images. Evidence for this is everywhere, like for example, the article you’re reading right now. These images don’t have to be too complicated. How about a map of the office, or a picture of the company’s humble beginnings? These small touches can go a long way. Speaking of color, going beyond the basic “black words on white paper” layout can really increase engagement. Try spicing it up with different fonts and colors- just make sure people are actually able to read it!

Reproductions Inc. has been providing black and white and color printing services to the people of Tucson and Southern Arizona since 1956. We offer color printing, banners, mounting, laminating, and much more. Call us at 520-622-7477 or contact us on the web for more information about how we can help you make your next project a success.