Some of the tips and tricks about the blue in printing:

-What’s A Blue line?

It’s a tool for proofing your printing project before going to press.

-Why is it blue?

The yellowish paper is photosensitive. When exposed to UV light, unprotected areas turn blue. In the olden days, proofs were made that produced images in brown. They were known as Van Dykes, as in Vany Dyke brown.

-How come my multi-color piece is just various shades of this blue color?

The various negatives that will be used to actually print your project are each exposed to the same piece of blue line paper, one at a time. The lighter inks that will be used get less exposure time, revealing a lighter blue.

-Why isn’t it the same as a color proof?

Color proofs can be made from the negatives, but they are far more expensive and time-consuming. Bluelines are cheaper and faster. The trend is actually going to imaging color proofs to the same matrix as the film or plate creation, but using toner and special paper. Running to an average deskjet or laserprinter isn’t as accurate.

-What should I look for on a blueline?

Bluelines were originally best for making sure the printer’s mechanicals included all the text and graphics you wanted. And to make sure all your photos were correctly scanned and placed into the right position.

Now, with desktop publishing and deskjet proofs provided by the client, bluelines are to make sure no fonts were left off (resulting in Courier instead of your desired typeface), to check that multi-page projects are correctly ordered, and that the job is correctly trimmed.

-What should I not be concerned with on a blueline?

Well, it’s the worst time to reconsider your content (unless you really want to repay for all new film and a new set of film).

It’s also not good for checking ink coverage, color separations, nor exact trapping. Bluelines aren’t extremely accurate for paper choice, since the paper used is in no way accurate to what stock will be used on the presses. The texture and thickness also has nothing to do with the final paper stock that will be used.

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