What's SNAP?

What is SNAP?

What is SNAP?

This guide was originally published in October 1984 and has been subsequently updated on a regular basis. Since its inception, more than 25,000 copies have been distributed worldwide. The Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production (SNAP) are designed to improve reproduction quality in newsprint production and provide guidelines for the exchange of information.

SNAP is intended for advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers, pre-press managers, material suppliers, and commercial and newspaper printers. The specifications pertain to proofing and coldset (sometimes referred to as “non-heatset”) printing for all newsprint production on webs of paper, including offset lithography, direct lithography, letterpress, and flexography for a wide variety of products (e.g., newspapers, pre-printed advertising inserts, and other printed materials).

SNAP is not intended for magazine, catalog, packaging, or direct mail printing, nor is it intended for sheetfed, gravure, or heatset web offset processes. Other specifications have been developed to provide guidance for these processes.

Why Use SNAP?

Effective communication among those involved in the reproduction process ensures that the ideas of the designer and art director are printed in an accurate, efficient, and timely manner. SNAP provides guidance for the following professionals:

  • Designers
  • Print production experts
  • Art directors
  • Pre-press professionals
  • Ad agencies
  • Editors
  • Marketers
  • Service bureau representatives
  • Color separators, electronic pre-press studios
  • Merchandisers and trade shop personnel
  • Print buyers
  • Printers
  • Material suppliers to coldset printers

Download the latest edition of the SNAP Coldset Standards, August 2009 PDF version. This updated version contains two new Appendixes: Digital Photography and PDF/X Settings.

The custom SNAP ICC profile defines the standard SNAP color space for newspaper advertising. Use to profile photo and design files with accurate color for newspaper advertising.

Certificate Program

Certificate Program

SNAP Certificate Program

In cooperation with the Newspaper Association of America, the Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production Committee has created a certificate program to promote understanding and application of SNAP specifications, and to provide objective feedback to users of the specifications.

The purpose of this press test is to show that your printing process is compliant with the SNAP specification. The Guidelines are set up so that the printed copy will be measured with instrumentation. SNAP certified printing operations must have a good understanding of the process and how to control the printing conditions. Printers who score 85 points or above will be awarded the SNAP Certificate. You can use the calculation sheet to tally your results before you submit the test sheets.

SNAP Certificate Winners

The SNAP certificate will require cold web printers to run test forms. There are two forms required to be printed. Page 1, will require the printer to place a SNAP sports image and dot gain palette on a page with various other test elements. Page 2 will have the same photo as the standard SNAP test page along with a color gamut. Please see the directions.


Page 1 is offered in PDF format.

PDF version

Please do not make any page size adjustments to page 1 or 2. Doing so may adversely effect results.

There are two elements that should be adjusted and placed onto this page:

  • The first element is a sports image (sports.jpg). Please adjust the image for dot gain in your process and place into the test page in the box that says place 3.25″ X 5″ football image file here.
  • The second element is a dot gain palette (dotgainsteps.pdf) which will show how well dot gain is controlled in your process. Please adjust the target for dot gain in your process and place into the test page in the box that says place 4.5″ X 4.5 dot gain palette file here. The desired effect is that the resulting print will show a print area of 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of each of the primary colors.

On Page 1 the following sections will be measured:

  • Dot Gain Control
  • Density Variation
  • Color Gamut
  • Dot Gain of your press (informational only)


Page 2 is supplied as a PDF document.

PDF version

No adjustment should be made to this page.

Directions to adjust and calibrate the SNAP Dot Gain Palette. (dotgain-procedure.pdf)

On Page 2, the following sections will be measured:

  • Registration
  • Grey Bar

The test pages should be run with nothing on the reverse side of the sheet. For a copy of the SNAP Certificate measurement and grading guidelines, please download (certification.pdf)

Please submit 20 consecutive copies of the printed test for evaluation, along with the following information:

  • Information sheet showing the printing equipment used.
  • Completed application form
  • Registration fee in the form of a check paid to Media Technology Partners or credit card payment.

Be sure to use a traceable shipping method and send everything in a sturdy package to:

Media Technology Partners

44050 Ashburn Plaza, Suite 195-664

Ashburn, VA 20147

If you have any questions, contact


Diagram of what will be evaluated

SNAP Certification Score sheet

Forms & Test Materials