Color Separation at Birth

Does anybody do color separations the old fashioned way with four or more plates, and therefore, four or more separate color proofs? I haven’t seen color “progs” in ages, until the other day in Rome, under my nose, there were these.

supremaFrom a printer dedicated to producing labels, here is a lovely art moderne sample of color proof printings. For those who may not remember, separating color was not a couple of clicks on the computer. It involved shooting four or more negs. Or it required making four or more overlays or frisket masks for each non-process color needed.

suprema 1 suprema 2 suprema 3

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3 thoughts on “Color Separation at Birth

  1. DBuddDes1gn

    I remember many hours hand-cutting amberlith overlays, and spending time press-proofing the printer’s color separations. Today, separations are only presented on request; in fact color proofs are seldom used for anything but proofing content (like obsolete bluelines), not really for checking color. Digital printing makes color control, trapping, and many other print-sensitive tech issues nearly worry-free. But I miss the craft of creating a mechanical, and adjusting color on press.

  2. C Aubry

    Working in a letterpress print shop that is somewhat out of step with the times, we used color separations when creating artwork for a book that came out this year, per the client’s request! A more typical process, however, is that we print the design work in black ink on white paper, so that the client can scan the work in and color it as s/he sees fit. Sometimes a two-color print becomes three colors, or one color, depending on the end use. Not exactly color separations, but the physical reminder that working in layers in real life means multiple pieces of paper to make one final design come together.