Understanding Color Printing Jargon

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Do you know the difference with colors? For most people, a color is a color. But for a professional who uses colors for a living, there are more to it.

Printers are well aware of the difference processes in color printing. Let’s talk about this color printing processes so you would understand what each means.

Most color print projects use either spot colors or process colors. In every project, budget plays a large role in the decision as well as the printing method and the design elements used in the layout. As a rule of thumb, a couple of spot colors will definitely cost less than a four-color or process color printing. However, when you use full color photos, a more expensive color process may be your best option.

What are spot colors? As I’ve said before, spot colors are cheaper than the full color ones. When do you use spot colors? Well, there are several guidelines to determine whether spot colors would do the trick. Here are a few:

– If your publication has no full-color photographs.
– If your publication needs a color that cannot be accurately reproduced. This includes CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) inks which are often used for precise color matching of a corporate or logo color.
– If you’re printing a specific color on something that requires page to page color consistency.
– If you’re using a much larger space such as that of your poster, spot color can provide that even consistency look in  your marketing ad.
– Spot color can give you a more vibrant color than the CMYK can produce in your color printing ad.
– Or if your ad needs special effects that requires producing inks such as metallic or fluorescent ones.

On the other hand, you’ll definitely need to apply process colors, e.g. CMYK inks, when…

– Your ad has full color photographs in it.
– Your ad has graphics that require producing multi-color inks.
You’ll then have to produce many color inks if you use spot color instead of the process colors.
– And if you need more than two spot colors in your ad, it is better to apply process color instead. Most of the time, you can save on costs with process colors than using four or more spot colors to produce your shade.

And if you have an ad that has photographs that integrates both spot colors and process colors, you can always use both applications. This is especially true in your logo color. For better results, ask your color printing company so you’ll be sure to have the best application to produce the colors you need for your marketing campaign.

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