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Color Laser printing: black not sharp and fog around!


New Member
I run a small business where I make custom book markers. They have a photo on top and a black text below. Very simple. Due to the nature of the job they are printed in small quantities in an electronic print shop (color laser printer). I make the arts in Photoshop (300 dpi, RGB), generate a PDF file and then bring it to the print service in a pen drive.

I have no problem with the photos as they always look great. The problem is with the black text. First it doesn't come sharp as it should (it appear dotted) and second and more annoying it show up some kind of "fog" around made of small dots of magenta and cyan.

I think that mostly of my customers doesn't notice this because no one mentioned it to me till the date. But I don't want to keep just taking my chances. ..

I suspect that the cause for these problems may be:

1) The lack of sharpness in text is caused by the reaper trying to render the text as an image (that's why it appear dotted).

2) The fog around is because regardless it is only black it tries to apply all the other 3 colors together and the fog is some kind of toner residue.

Maybe? Anyway I have no clue how to walk around to solve this...

There is something I can do to either enhance the black-over-white sharpness as well eliminate this fog effect?

PS: I should let you know that it is not a matter of defective machine as I have experienced the very same issue in different equipment in different print shops.



Staff member
Sounds like the black is being made from the toners rather than black. Not sure what laser you're using but you'd likely be better working CMYK rather than RGB because it's the basis of most printer toners whereas rgb is more for screens due to it matching pixels etc
Resolution could be another thing to consider.
Sounds like a resolution problem to me. Have you tried creating the artwork in something other than Photoshop? Photoshop is great for photos, but as soon as you start putting text in a document, the sharpness goes. as a digital printer we see this a lot when photoshop has been used to create a business card.

Stationery Direct

Staff member
Firstly ensure your black text is C:0 M:0 Y:0 K:100%, then ensure when you export your file to PDF that no optimisation/compression is being used (check export settings), you will notice if you save to a low res jpeg for example the spattering of colour/dots around each letter.