6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2009 12:25 PM by Mojorocker1964

    Jagged lines on box when printed on press

    agjscm Level 1

      I created a design that contained boxes with no fill, only an outline (I'm attaching an example of the boxes I created.)  The blue one is not the problem.  It printed great on the press.  The gray one looks great on screen and when printed on my destop printer, but when I viewed the press proof this morning at our printer's shop, the lines of the boxes were jagged.  Aaarrgghhh...They looked horrible.  I've read a few posts on smoothing lines in Illustrator, but it seems like the discussions on this problem are for more complicated artwork.  My graphic is a box....I just want smooth straight lines! 


      I have been using Illustrator for a year now and am self-taught (not so good, I know), but plan on taking some classes.  So I guess my question #2 is....is this the kind of stuff taught in Illustrator for beginners??? or should I take an advanced class?  Or maybe there is a support group online for people like me???  I'm so hooked on the design possibilities of the program but get so frustrated with the printing output.  I need to know what I'm doing, you know??  I'm constantly finding mistakes when we go to print...It's bad for my self-esteem...LOL


      Any insight is appreciated...Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
          PrepressPro1 Level 4

          I can't see the physical proofs from your printer but judging by the PDF which shows the gray box printing as 34% black, sounds to me like the Printer has the black on the wrong screen angle. When you print a % of Black the printer proofs and subsequent plates are going to represent these with a halftone screen of black. If your printer is printing the proof with the Black set to a nonstandard angle, or shifted angle the straight line screening will look jagged. See if you can have the printer output the Black separation of the proof to a 45º angle. Even better would be screening technologies like staccatto which is a stochastic screening which will smooth out the gray (% of Black) halftones of the Black printing plates. If your printer is shaking his head and doesn't understand screen angles and there effects on halftone dots vs. straight lines, then he is not a very experienced of informed printer. The other option is if the printing you are having done is limited to only a few colors you could have him put Gray on its own printing unit as a  Spot Color Gray. This would remove any halftone dots from gray color because it would be printed as a solid dedicated printing unit.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
            agjscm Level 1

            Thanks for the reply.  I will definitely present this info to printer and see what comes of it....


            There are sooo many things to know!  thanks again

            • 3. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
              Printer_Rick Level 4

              The jagged lines you see in the gray rule are probably the effects of offset screening.


              The stroke is tinted 34% black. This will actually print as a series of very small solid black dots. Lower line screen values can cause a jagged appearance.


              As a possible remedy you can try a darker tint or solid rules. Or you can create a CMYK gray. The problem with CMYK gray is it could (possibly) end up with a slight color cast on press. And it also makes registration on press more difficult.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
                agjscm Level 1

                Thanks for your comments....You suggested using a darker tint...I do believe that would be a solution, but the color I wanted was a very light gray.  What do artists do when they want a light gray in Illustrator?  I'm also researching "solid rules" that you mentioned.

                • 5. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
                  agjscm Level 1

                  So...you mentioned our printer may not have the latest technologies, and I have to agree that, while they are very good and helpful, they are not necessarily entirely up to date.  How do you suggest going about finding a printer that really "knows their stuff" and is technologically advanced?  We've been burned by several other printing companes in the past that "looked" like they had it together, but after the first job came back, we realized the quality was not what we expected. (And not just on artwork that I created.  The artwork was actually done by a professional.)


                  I just don't know the right questions to ask when going printing company shopping, it seems.  We are located in Houston...it shouldn't be that hard to find a good printer.  Very frustrating...printing is so expensive and, as it turns out, quite stressful on the newbie Illustrator user...me.

                  • 6. Re: Jagged lines on box when printed on press
                    Mojorocker1964 Level 1

                    Have you ever used Pantone colors? Go to Window>Swatches when the pallet opens, click the tiny upside down triangle in the upper right corner. A menu will pop up at the bottom of the menu you will see Open Swatch Library select it and another menu will pop out. Look for Color Books. Yet another menu will pop up. You will want Pantone Solid Coated. By using Pantone you can communicate what colors you want the art to be. For instance, look up "Cool Gray 8". It's close to the gray you where wanting. There really is no need to halftone the square unless the other square was based on the same color. Halftones in this case are over kill. As long as your looking for a specific color, in your case gray, think of a solid color gray. Like house paint. If you want to save money on a print job and two or three colors are close to the same color, then you would use halftones, or set the percentages to get three colors from one plate.