A Guide to Ink Coverage for Commercial Printing

Total Area Coverage (TAC) is an important calculation that determines the amount of toner or ink that can be applied on a particular surface while printing. TAC indicates the maximum amount of ink that can be used when several colours are printed atop each other. TAC is also referred to as Total Ink Coverage (TIC).

Incorrect TAC calculation can lead to problems while printing if the graphics designer does not keep this aspect in mind. You can easily have situations where the ink does not dry properly in layers, ‘muddied’ spots or the still-wet ink rubbing off on other surfaces. Naturally, all this leads to more production time, not to mention financial loss if you have to reprint all over again.

Ways to Avoid Exceeding TAC

In order to avoid exceeding the ideal TAC limits, the designing part has to be done carefully. Some images become too colour-heavy if incorrect separation of colours is done while designing. Another common error is the use of ‘registration’ colour schemes while designing. ‘Registration’ standards always use 100% of each of the colours so that the actual print requires a total of 400% ink coverage when CMYK colours are used.

Obviously, this exceeds the printing industry standards and the final output will suffer from ink seepage, drying problem and other related issues. It is therefore advisable never to use ‘registration’ standards in the final artwork that will be sent to the press. Check the artwork with your digital printers Sydney before giving the final approval for printing. Or else, you can use the latest Adobe format that has a TAC option to fix the settings.