Why is My Gradient Banding?

Question: Why do gradients band when offset printed? I have a gradient in a project that prints fine to my office printer. When it goes to offset the gradient shows banding.

Answer: A gradient is the transition of one or more colors from dark to light. They become problematic when the color varies too little over too large a distance or when the gradient ends in less than 5 percent of a color. Gradients without sufficient variance between the light and dark color may appear banded when printed. Office printers have trouble imaging dot values in the single digits. To solve the problem, they artificially increase low screen values. This accounts for the gradient printing without banding to the office printer but banding when offset.