Graphic design tips

Overprinting colors in Adobe Illustrator

By default, when opaque colors that overlap printing, color in the foreground covers the area below. The use of overprinting allows avoid creating hedges, because it makes printing ink overprinted located more appear transparent in relation to the underlying ink. The degree of transparency in printing depends on the ink, paper and printing method used. Contact the print service to determine the effect of these variables on the final artwork.

When the colors printed from separate plates overlap or juxtapose, lack of registration printing can create blank spaces between the colors of the final output. To compensate these potential gaps between colors in your artwork, print services use a technique called burst to create a small area of overlap (called a trap) between two adjacent colors. You can use a special program to create traps automatically or use Illustrator to create traps manually.


Steps to overprint in Adobe Illustrator:
  • Select the object(s) on top that you wish to overprint.
  • Choose Windows > Show Attibutes.
  • In the Attributes window, check Overprint fill. Strokes can be set to overprint as well.
  • To view the overprint on the screen, choose View > Overprint Preview.

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