We Know Trapping

We know trapping!  Trapping is a critical part of making sure all the elements of a label fit together.  This is most critical in traditional press printing – it is the compensation for the inherit movement on a mechanical printing press.  Read more to see the details of what it is and how we do it, but rest assured that we know trapping!

High quality labels reflect on your brand, and we take this responsibility very seriously, which is why we pay attention to the details like trapping.WeKnowTrapping - High Quality Printing

Chokes and Spreads

Traditional printing presses have gears and rollers.  There will always be a degree of movement between color stations.  Because of that, we need to create an ‘overlap’ between adjacent colors.  Putting colors next to each other (1:1) with no overlap gives no margin for error and it results in gaps and white lines between adjacent colors.  “Chokes and Spreads” are the common terms to describe expanding one color to cover the other.  This is all done in prepress before we make the printing plates.

Choke Example

Choke We Know TrappingA ‘Choke’ is a contraction or reduction of size of an element.  In this example, a full color image is surrounded by a black border.  They are designed to fit adjacent to each other with no overlap.  However, on a press, holding that perfect alignment isn’t possible, which can result in a white line between the elements, like this (the ‘before’ image).  In order to fix this, we ‘choked’ the outside black border into the color image in the center.  This addition of a very, very small stroke around the border ensures that even with a bit of movement, there is never a white line showing.  We can spot this problem in the graphics phase when plates are being made to avoid a white line like this.  We know trapping.

Spread Example

The opposite of a ‘choke’ is a ‘spread’ and this can mean several different things.  In the example at left, we could have spread the full color image out under the existing black border, but We Know Trapping Rose City Labelfor cost and simplicity, we chose to choke the outside border into the image.  The other very common use of a ‘spread’ is to compensate for the expansion of ink as it is transferred from the printing plate to the label stock.  Without the sread, small reverse type like this would fill in.  Again, this image on the right is a ‘before’ picture of what would happen without proper trapping.  By opening up those white letters, we compensate for the natural filling in.  Trapping is critical to getting you high quality labels, and we know trapping!


We know trapping, so you don’t have to!  Some customers are very curious about the details of our process, so we like to share our expertise. That is great – we love to share our expertise. If you want even more technical information about our type of printing, click here. But, if you only want to see the final result, and don’t care about the technical steps along the way, that is fine with us too.  We are label experts so you don’t have to be.  Rely on us and we will always get you top quality labels, delivered on time, at a fair price. Call us today!