Photocopy Watermarking Designs
December 23, 2005 9:57 AM   Subscribe

designfilter How do I go about creating a Photocopy-Proof background for a document?

I'm looking for something like what you see on certificates that reveals "Copy" or something similar when the document is put through a copy machine. I'm willing to pay for a design to use, but am also interested in how to go about creating one for myself. I'm sure that it has something to do with either dot-gain or screen angles, but have been unable to find any type of tutorial or otherwise that describes the process.
posted by medium format to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
As I understand it most of those styles are proprietary. If they tell you how to do it then they can't charge people for the technology. Also, if they reveal too much publicly about how their process works, somebody might develop a counter.
(Although not an expert I do work for an office supply and paper company)
posted by Megafly at 10:18 AM on December 23, 2005

These folks apparently license their technology. It's not clear that it's as simple as creating a printable pattern.
posted by donovan at 10:28 AM on December 23, 2005

I'm not sure how such paper generally works, I think it has to do with the angle of the light of the copier/scanner though.

You can buy the stuff, it would appear.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:33 AM on December 23, 2005

On paychecks I used to get you could see the "void" pattern if you looked closely. The way that one worked was by using a standard halftone pattern for the background, and then rendering the "void" with thin horizontal lines. I don't know how to get the density to match visually other than trial-and-error, unfortunately.
posted by O9scar at 1:15 PM on December 23, 2005

A simple solution is the one my local place uses that sells summaries of course subjects to students (you know, where they queue up the night before the exam). They just print every eighth page or so (wild guess) on red paper instead of white, making it difficult to copy, at least on a black&white copier (which will turn the red into black, and render the text illegible).

This is a lo-fi solution of course.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:25 PM on December 23, 2005

working at a multi-national copy corporation, i can tell you that printing on a dark red stock is impossible to copy (usually). Though this will not stop anyone with scanner and some photoshop skills.
posted by ThFullEffect at 11:59 PM on December 23, 2005

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