True Black and White for Optimal TTO Printing

GetPersonaPhotoThis article was written by Justin Blackman, TTO Product Manager at ID Technology.

Very often customers will be using a graphic in their message design for Thermal Transfer Overprinter (TTO) coding.  In most cases they create the graphic and save it as a .jpg file. However, .jpg is not suitable for use in the TTO printer because TTO printers must use a monochrome bitmap file; a true black and white image.

When it comes to graphics, TTO printers can only print the black pixels in the graphic. So graphics files must be saved as a monochrome bitmap, also referred to as a two-color (black and white) graphic, or 1 bit graphic. Since bitmaps have no compression, they provide the best quality and can easily be resized and retain that quality.

Figure 1

Figure 1.

Take a look at the graphic in Figure 1. It is a very nice graphic, and appears to be pure black and white. However if you take a closer look you can see that there is color in the graphic that is used for smoothing the fonts and lines. Zooming in on the graphic reveals that it is full of hidden color, as shown in Figure 2. You can see the orange, red, and blue tones surrounding the text.

Figure 2

Figure 2.

Converting the graphic would seem like a good solution. The goal is to convert the graphic into true black and white 1 bit image file. Anything between hexadecimal #000000 (black) and hexadecimal #FFFFFF (white) will automatically be converted to black. Figure 3 illustrates the converted graphic.

Figure 3

Figure 3.

In most case, converting may create a graphic that will be sufficient for the application. But converting is still just converting. In our example, where any color with a hexadecimal value higher than #FFFFFF (white) was converted to #000000 (black), converting only made the text dense and hard to read. The text must be legible, and as shown in Figure 3, it is not.

The best way to create graphics with legible text for TTO applications is to generate the graphic directly from the vector artwork into a 1 bit graphic file. If you are using graphics files, then be sure to generate them from vector files.

Do you need help with your TTO applications, or have questions about how to generate the best graphics for the job? Give us a call toll free at: 888-438-3242 Option#3. We’ll get you in touch with one of our specialists, right in your area who can help you get the best results from your thermal transfer overprinter.

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