First, let’s talk about what are registration marks. Registration marks print outside the trim area of printing. They can include bulls-eye targets, crop marks, plate information, etc. These marks allow the printer to accurately align separate letterpress plates for multiple color print jobs and better align cuts when trimming.

How do you tell whether you need registration marks for your job? If you are letterpress printing a job that has two or more colors that print up against each other or overprint each other, registration marks help you to set up each plate color for a close printing with minimal to no adjusting.

If you have a letterpress printing design with bleeds, crop marks are useful for a proper paper trim after printing.

If you are printing a design with scores and folding, having those marks designated outside your trim area is helpful for die cutting and finishing work.

If you are sending your letterpress printing project to another location for cutting and finishing, registration marks can be a very smart move for a successfully trimmed job.

If you just want guidelines for trimming, crop marks make a good template.
If you are adding registration marks to your plates, here’s how to use them to register your plate to your base: Plastic backed letterpress plates are see-through and you’ll be able to see and use your Boxcar Base grid lines for registering. Place a registration mark over a grid line at an intersection where two lines cross. This will be your same starting place for the registration marks on a second color plate.

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Posted in: General Printing with the Boxcar Base