With the loss of so many letterpress job printing shops in the 1970s and the explosion of inexpensive process offset printing in the late ’90s, it is considerably more expensive now to print two colors than four colors.
Some designers have reacted by creating four-color process designs, perfectly registered on the press, that mimic the appearance of two or three-color jobs. Here’s a nice example in a vector tutorial by Rype (Ryan Putnam)—an off-register look, as if the colors had not been perfectly aligned by the pressman. Color registration was a common problem in the past. Who could have imagined that someday we’d be nostalgic for low-quality printing—but designers cleverly worked with the limitations of old presses.