by Kay Zetkin
When, as a graphic designer, you are designing a graphics document for print, should you use spot colors or process colors or both? Color usage is something to take into consideration when thinking about cost and other issues as well. When using full color photos, you must use process colors, yet sometimes printing projects requires that you use both spot colors and process colors. Do you know when to choose spot colors or process colors or both? This article clearly defines which situations should result in which choice of colors and might save you on a future graphic design project.
It’s no laughing matter when talking about color printing projects… There are things to be considered and topping it all is the cost for a color printing project. Indeed, budget plays an essential part in deciding what the printing method and the specific design elements that need to be applied in the layout.
Most color print projects use either sport colors or process colors. It’s quite general knowledge that a couple of spot colors cost less than four-color or process color printing. Still, when you are inclined to use full-color photos, the only option you can have is that of process colors…Meanwhile, some full color printing projects need to use both process colors and spot colors to finish the print job successfully.
Do you know how to identify when to use spot colors or process colors? Or when to use both? It would save you from a lot of rejects and wasted budgets when you know which is more suitable to use.
It is ideal to use spot colors, like Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors when:
- your printing job has no full-color photographs involved and requires only one or two colors. This includes one spot color and black.
- your publication needs a color or colors that can’t be accurately reproduced using CMYK inks. This may be the color matching for your corporate or logo color. - there is a requirement of one specific color to be printed over multiple pages consistently.
- color printing is over a large area, like poster or banners, since spot color inks provide more even coverage on this aspect.
- the printing project needs more vibrant colors than what CMYK inks produce.
- there is a need for special effects like metallic or fluorescent spot inks.
On the other hand, it is preferable to use process colors or CMYK when:
- full-color photographs shall be used
- your publication has multi-color graphics that would require many ink colors to reproduce with spot colors
- the printing job needs more than two spot colors. Actually, if you check with your printer, you might find that process color printing would be less expensive than using three or more spot colors.
It is but required to use both spot colors and process colors when:
- your publication has full-color photographs that must also incorporate specific spot colors from the PMS and cannot be created with CMYK inks (e.g. logo color).
- There is a need to improve or increase intensity of a specific process color by adding spot color ink. This 5th plate from the spot color to used as addition to CMYK is called a bump plate.
- Some of the full color publication is coated with clear varnish, varnish being specified as a spot color.
With this safely learned, you wouldn’t fall to the blunder of having full color printing disasters and save time and budget during the entire process, too!
About Author Kay Zetkin:
For her, writing is an effective tool to express your viewpoints... To write is already to choose, thus, writing should be done along with a critical mind and a caring soul. She hopes to become more professional, skilled and mature in her craft. Aside from writing Kay likes to spend her time reading.
About Digital Printing Company Digital Printing Company offers high impact digital printing solutions from prepress scanning and graphics design to customizing documents using Variable Data Imaging technology. They specialize in short run printing of books, manuals, and flyers, as well as large format printing of posters and trade show graphics. For more information, visit their website at www.digitalprintingcompany.com
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