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Photo offset lithography. Artist unknown. Label for fruit box, Independent Brand Northwest Pears. c. 1950. 6 15/16 x 9 13/16" (17.7 x 25 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Richard Benson ©Washington Fruit and Produce. “Photo offset” lithography first came into widespread use shortly after World War II as a means of printing colorful labels for fruit and vegetable boxes. They could be produced very inexpensively in short runs, without the need for the costly copper or zinc plates that would have been required for letterpress printing.

Detail of Photo offset lithography. Artist unknown. Label for fruit box, Independent Brand Northwest Pears. c. 1950. 6 15/16 x 9 13/16" (17.7 x 25 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Richard Benson ©Washington Fruit and Produce. The fruit label was drawn by hand, then printed with solid colors and coarse halftone screens. The printer used rough approximations of the subtractive primaries, but there are two blues instead of the usual cyan; one blue has a lot of red in it and the other, lighter one is quite green. Many package labels carried specialized colors, which almost always struck the eye with an intensity that halftone-generated mixes of the primaries could not. This technique, called “spot color, ” is used to this day in fancy color printing.

Photo offset lithography. Shinobu Ishihara. Plate from Ishihara’s Tests for Colour-Blindness (Tokyo: Isshinkai, 1966). 1966. Printed by Isshinkai. 3 7/8 x 3 7/8" (9.9 x 9.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Richard Benson © 1959 Kanehara Shuppan Co., Ltd. Tokyo. Developed in the 1930s by Dr. Ishihara in Japan, these beautiful arrays of colored dots, printed by offset, could accurately hold the subtle colors needed to determine slight individual differences in color vision.

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Source: www.benson.readandnote.com
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