For years, print customers and providers needed a way to communicate with each other much easily. When a customer wants to use one color in front and three colors at the back of his business card, he need not write it down or say it completely when ordering; he only needs to write 1/3 or say one over three. This makes communicating with clients easy for the printer. Printplace.com and other online printers find this printing shorthand convenient especially when handling several print projects for multiple clients.
In simple terms, 4/4 or 4 over 4, 4/0 etc. are a shorthand or trade designation used in the printing industry to denote the number of ink colors to be used on each side of a printed material. The first 4 refers to the colors applied in front and the other 4 for the back side.
The four colors (full color) used are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). These four colors are represented by 4 in the printing shorthand. Black and white is represented by 1 and a blank side is represented by 0. Here are samples of different color variations:
4/4 means full color on both sides
4/1 means full color in front and black or white at the back
1/1 represents 1 color in front and 1 color at the back
4/0 means 4 colors in front and a blank back side
1/0 represents 1 color in front and a blank back side
When using 2 or 1 in the color variations, it’s important to clarify as to what colors these numbers refer to as it can mean black and white or any of the four colors.
Now that you know what these printing terms mean, the next time you order printed materials you’ll have a better grasp of what the printer is talking about. Have fun printing!
Image source: http://unixroot.deviantart.com/art/CMYK-Watercolor-151815191