For those that are designing their own newspaper or using a newspaper printing company, consider following these simple guidelines for preparing artwork for newspaper reproduction with the best possible results when printing on newspaper:

  • Graphic & Photo Resolution
    Image resolution should be between 150 to 200 dots per inch. Higher resolution only increases the file size not the quality of the reproduction. Under 150 dpi graphics will reproduce poorly and web images under 100 dpi will render extremely poorly.

  • Color Specifications
    To print in color, we convert all color (RGB, Spot, Pantone, etc.) to CMYK color. Be aware that colors shift during this conversion, particularly darker blues and grays. For critical color we can send you a printed CMYK proof prior to the press run for your approval.

  • Brightness & Contrast
    Newsprint inks dry by absorption so there is a blotting effect when the ink hits the paper. This effect is referred to as "dot gain" and it darkens the picture by 10-20%. To compensate for this, we recommend increasing the brightness in your graphics by 10-20%.

    For contrast try to maintain a 20% difference in shaded areas where important detail needs to stand out. Particularly if your artwork has a "dark-on-dark" design. After adjusting your graphics, they will typically look "blown out" on your monitor to the point of almost losing the finest detail in the highlights.

  • LCD Monitor Brightness
    Turn down the brightness of your monitor when designing for newspaper reproduction. This will mimic the effect of printing on newsprint.

  • Flatten Transparent PNGs
    Transparencies do not reproduce well and can create unwanted visual artifacts. Flatten your artwork to reduce or eliminate as much transparency as possible. Or consider converting those objects to an image (or rasterize complex objects).

  • 6 Foot Rule
    With your artwork on monitor and zoomed to 100% lean away from the monitor 3 to 6 feet. Is your message clear? If not consider a redesign. Limit the number of distinct fonts in your artwork.

Other Design Considerations

  • Avoid Type Less Than 6 Points in Size
    Small type may not reproduce well. If that text contains any colors other than black or a shade of black, avoid any type less than 12 points in size.

  • White Text in CMYK
    Reversed type (knockouts) can be tricky, hard to read, and should only be sparingly used if type is san-serif 18 points or larger. Since ink is applied one color at a time white text over a CMYK background can end up looking ‘fuzzy' due to slight misalignment's of the web of paper as it goes through the press.

  • Brightness & Contrast
    Reversed type (knockouts) can be tricky, hard to read, and should only be sparingly used if type is san-serif 18 points or larger. Since ink is applied one color at a time white text over a CMYK background can end up looking ‘fuzzy' due to slight misalignment's of the web of paper as it goes through the press.

  • Fonts Composed of Very Thin Strokes
    Thin fonts may not reproduce well. The thin strokes can appear to fill in. Some of the fill in, when on a dark background, can be attributed to an optical effect, due to the dot gain darkening of the image and loss of contrast in the darker areas.

  • Rich Black
    The trick with rich black is to know when to use it and when to avoid it. Rich black should be used sparingly in any full color artwork. Adobe Illustrator may default to using rich black for black. In newspaper printing you generally only want to use rich black to avoid traps in color reproduction. Also see the note above on "White text in CMYK." The percentage values of CMYK when added together should not exceed 220%. Utilizing rich black to produce a deeper black in reproduction is strongly discouraged since the extra ink cannot absorb into the paper.

  • Avoid Bleeds
    We don't recommend using bleeds since the white margins have pressure wheels running in them to hold the paper web straight as it is going through the press folder. Any ink in the bleed areas will track and offset to other pages. Some of our customers still use bleeds but they keep text at least 3/8" away from the edge and keep bleed images under 20% ink coverage in the margins.