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What is halftone printing?

Posted July 18, 2011

Halftone is a printing technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying in size, shape, or spacing.

Halftone images rely on a simple optical illusion: when viewed from a certain distance, the tiny halftone dots comprising the print are smoothed into tones and gradients by the human eye. The most notable example of halftone printing is probably newspapers, which generally employ halftone printing techniques when printing photographs.

If you are interested in learning more about halftone imprinting, be sure to take a look at the Wikipedia article.

Advisory on Halftone Imprints

Halftone printing, although very useful and versatile, does have a few drawbacks. Most notably:

  • The use of halftone photographs on most of our items is typically discouraged. When using photographs (even black and white or sepia toned photos) printing using a full color item is highly encouraged to allow for printing of all the fine gradients and shading in the photograph.
  • Photographic detail is not generally possible with a halftone imprint on most promotional products. Instead, we recommend that you posterize your image, reducing it to black and white only with no shading or gradients (gray tones).
  • When using photographs, try to use an image with high contrast. Images with low contrast do not convert to halftone imprints very well and may cause additional detail loss.

If you have additional questions or require assistance in converting an image for use with a halftone imprint, please contact our art department at 800-554-0127.

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