I’m often asked for details on how we print our Cougar® or Lynx® Opaque Ultra promotional pieces. These promotions were all printed using conventional 4-color offset printing equipment. We’ve printed rich black in a variety of ways through the years, all at the advice of the print professional we partner with for that particular project. We’ve also used a variety of line screens, again at the advice of our printers.
I have been told that high line screens should be avoided when printing uncoated papers. I tend to ignore that advice! As long as pre-press applies the right curves, there is NO reason NOT to use a 200 line screen….or higher.
The images below show the same image area at the different line screens of 150, 175 and 200. Keep in mind that there is a direct relationship between screen ruling and dot gain. A finer screen does not automatically produce a better image. Fine screens, in fact, may increase dot gain if not accounted for in pre-press.
We have experimented with line screen before on some of our promotional pieces. One of my favorites was Lynx Garage. This piece was predominantly printed with a 211 line screen. Because we could, we also included an image at 300 line screen and one printed stochastically.
The key to keeping images sharp and preventing plugging of the highlights is to manage dot gain in pre-press. Images with high levels of detail can reproduce with stellar results on uncoated papers. Step out of your comfort zone and consider running a higher line screen. With the appropriate dot gain curves applied, your images will be crisp and fine details will jump off the page!