The Purpose of Color and Registration Marks on Packaging

June 21, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

I first noticed these marks on cereal boxes as a kid. After pouring a bowl of cereal, I’d read the front panel, then the back and eventually I’d be reading the subscript on the top panels.

The folding panels of many cardboard packages contain colored boxes and cross-hair markings. I always wondered what they were for.

The cross-hairs are called “registration marks” and they may be used for different purposes during the printing and package making process.

In the initial stages of the printing process, they are used to ensure the printing plates are properly aligned in multiple color processes. Technicians use these marks to perform the initial setup and make adjustments during the print run. Advanced printing presses also have sensors to check for alignment and make automatic adjustments.

The registration marks may also be used to align materials in other machines that do cutting, folding and gluing.

The color boxes are used by printing technicians to verify the proper quantity of ink is being laid on the printed material. This allows them to match color samples to ensure consistency from start to finish of the printing run and even across printing facilities that print the same materials around the world.

Thanks to Todd M for suggesting this secret.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Computer Hope, Wikipedia (Registration), Sensors

Entry filed under: Demystified. Tags: , , , , , .

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