At Printing Brain, we’re always looking to demystify print. So today, we look at 3 elements that are often confusing to anyone outside of printing companies but are essential to understand – the colour bar, trim marks and registration marks.
The little circle with a cross through it is printed using every colour of the four-colour printing process. If they’re being printed accurately, they should overlap precisely so the mark looks entirely black. Therefore if any of the colours are slightly offset (out of register) then they’ll be displayed, showing the job isn’t being printed correctly.
These are small lines which show exactly where the finished page will be cut during the finishing process. They should display at the edge of each margin.
Colour bars are printed outside the trim area and are used for quality control purposes by the printer. Squares of colour are printed on the area of the page to be trimmed off, which the printing press operator uses to check colour density and consistency is maintained. This checking process is automated by some printers, with digital scanners tracking the colour bars to ensure quality and consistency is maintained. See also our 5 step guide to Pantone Colours.