Black and White Printing
Color printing is king, but for all. Simple black and white is still among us. Even though they are not as popular as in the past, they still cover a real need in the communication sphere. Find some interesting details below.
Black and White Copies (+ B/W Overprint on Color Copies and Forms)
Black and white printing and (b/w) black and white copy printing is mostly used in two types of applications:
- Documents such as manuals, forms, single, 2 or 3 part invoices, trade show binders and books
- Variable Data Printing, overprinting on templates (preprinted sheets) with relevant information (such as bank statements printed on sheets that had the logo, pre-printed in full color)
Check our interesting F.A.Q section on this same page
How and When Black and White Copies Started
This type of copies used to be called "Xerox copies" and the industry used to be known as xerographic copying at the time when black and white copying became available. In 1959 Xerox introduced the first plain paper photocopies with their Xerox 914 copier, that revolutionized the document-copying industry. At the time, it was fast and economical when compared to other reproduction options. One of those printers (which weighed 648 pounds) can be seen at the Smithsonian Museums. The maximum printing size was 9" x 14" and every now and then, the machine caught fire due to overheating. Those copies where pale, had a tint all over the page and did not reproduce details with enough clarity.
In 1949 Xerox had introduced their Xerox Model A that required special papers (see picture on the left). The regular paper printing was a big breakthrough.
Significant progress has been made since those early days in the black and white printing technology, permitting nowadays black and white copying with quality that challenges that of offset printing (considered the most perfect printing technology still for long run printing).
Color Copies USA can print black and white copies in sizes of up to 12" x 18" plus bleed on different substrates.
About the cost of black and white prints or B/W:
Because black and white prints only use one ink color (black, which also happens to be the cheapest), the cost of black and white printing is actually the cheapest option. That is why most of the "transactional documents" (meaning those documents that we get in the mail that need us to take action such as paying bills, etc.) get printed in black and white.
Black and white copy prices start at about 2 cents per piece for single sided printing on 20# paper, rate that applies for large volumes.
Black and white printing is not limited to obtaining copies of the same document as in the early stages of xerography. The same technologies that allow customizing every single piece of paper that is printed in full color printing (which is technically known as Variable Data Printing) is available as well for black and white printing. Therefore each printed copy of your document could contain the full contact info of the recipient, their picture and much more personal information.
Personalization using black and white copies is much more affordable than in the personalization of full color pieces. You will most likely recognize having received statements with personalized offers in the mail.
- Linen, Crest and Columns (among others) can be used. We obtain nice and evenly covered areas with beautiful solid printing coverage. The practical application of this possibility is the opportunity to print classy invitations, personal cards such as fold-over cards and corporate event announcements, printed in low quantities, can be done without sacrificing on quality.
- Card stock either glossy, matte or uncoated look beautiful with black and white printing as well. Black and white copy printing on glossy card stock produces beautiful mailing postcards among other uses.
In the early days, Xerography permitted only copying (not printing from files). Since then, printing technology has become so much more potent and flexible.
Preparing artwork for black and white copy printing:
- The same precautions than for printing color copies must be kept.
- Resolution should be above 200dpi in black and white photography, but for copy to look sharp and not jaggy, we do recommend the highest resolution settings to be used at the time of creating the artwork.
- Shades of gray are permitted in black and white copy printing. If you looked closely with a loupe you would realize that gray is made out of tiny black spots next to tiny white spots (provided you are looking at a white paper printed with black ink). The higher the density of black dots, the darker the shade of gray. The lower the density of black dots, the whiter the shade. Your desktop publishing tool will most likely allow for shades of gray.
Black and white clipart copied from internet sites: The vast majority of images that we see when browsing the internet is actually in a very low resolution. Printing requires higher resolutions than those required to show images online. What happens to graphics, icons and pictures that are grabbed from the internet is that when printed they look fuzzy. In addition, when printing color images in black and white, the colors are to be transformed into gray scale and they often come out looking very bad and pixelated. There are CD collections with thousands of hundreds of black and white clipart graphics that can be used with better results at stores such as Best Buy. (Vector images). There are web sites as well where you will either be able to get images for free that are adequate, or some paid sites
I've listed a couple of sites that offer free vector clip arts. We do not endorse any particular website. We are just sharing public information with you.
PRINTING ON COLORED PAPER
FULL COLOR DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN BLACK AND WHITE