7 Common Printing Problems

There are a few obvious problems to look for while your job is in progress or post press. A minute amount of every job will have some problems on at least one piece, but most printers will spot and throw away any problem sheets. While quality varies from printer to printer, the following problems should never be considered deliverable. As a final reminder check your jobs before you submit them for print and after you receive them. Never be afraid to say something when your job looks noticeably different than your proof.


Always check for three things, too little ink, good amounts of ink, or too much.


Look for areas that have uneven or spotty areas of ink, these areas are refereed to as mottled areas.

Registration and trapping

Your graphics and colors should all be aligned perfectly, poor registration can create gaps between ink colors.

Pinholes and Hickies

A pinhole happens when there is a hole in the printing plate negative. Hickies are caused by dirt or paper particles that keep the ink from touching the paper.


Typically skews are caused because a plate that was misaligned


Many of the most common issues occur after the job is printed. Sometimes during the trimming process pages can be thrown out of alignment, and when they are cut your job can easily be ruined.


Ghosting normally happens because ink wasn't applied correctly to the rollers, and images are blurred or doubled. Ghosting can also result from layouts that demand more than the inking system of the printing press can deliver. Modern printing presses have very capable inking systems so this type of ghosting has become less frequent.