Print Facts #2: Spot Colors and 4 color Process
1 color to 6 color printing:
How to decide what’s best for your project.
So what does 1 color vs. 6 color, spot color vs. 4 color process printing mean to you and your project? How do you know what option is best? Well lets break down some facts about printing offset and tips that might help you with your next project.
4 color process – CYMK:
4 color process is probably the most common way to set up your artwork. With just the standard CMYK build you can make countless combinations of colored logos, full images and photos.
In this system a color image is separated into 4 different color values to create 4 images that are transferred to printing plates. When you run these on a printing press with the CYMK inks (cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black (the k in cmyk)) you can reproduce the original color image. Most of the entire spectrum or gamut of colors are reproduced with just the four process ink colors. Printing 4 color process is standard in the printing industry on offset presses (presses that use inks and printing plates). The quality is better than digital printing and it is cheaper in large quantity runs.
In offset printing, a spot color is any color generated by an ink (pure or mixed) that is printed using a single run. CYMK can come close to matching any color, but to get it exact, a PMS color can be mixed and used for areas that need to be an exact match to, say, a logo color.
Absolutely need to match a color?
Is getting your brand color just right the main concern for you and your team? Then printing PMS colors or a combination is your best bet. Printing a standard PMS color is the best way to ensure your brand color carries over from all the collateral items you print.
If you have photos or other artwork you’d like to use on your material and an important logo in PMS colors, you might want to consider 4 color process+1 color PMS. This will allow you to place images on your project while printing your corporate colors as well. Nothing has to be sacrificed, especially not the integrity of your brand.
2 PMS printed binder 4 color process printed binder
Is cost your main concern?
If cost is your main concern then stick with 1 color to 4 color process/PMS. Most people don’t realize that your unit price for printing one side won’t change from 1 color to 4 color whether you are using 4 PMS colors or 4 color Process. The only fee change is within the prepress charge for your project. For example, for a 1 color 3 ring binder prepress is $275, while 4 color adds only $150. A small fee to have a full range of color options at your fingertips.
If you are working on a custom printed 3 ring binder, there is one place you don’t have to skimp. Print those liners! Did you know that most binders print cover & liner on the same press sheet? So that’s one side printing people. You can print the inside or your binder with common colors from the cover at NO additional charge. This adds a lot of punch and makes you a hero to your clients. (Tell them you talked us into printing it for free!)
Do you want the greatest variety in printing options?
4 color process can run everything from gorgeous photos to solid blocks of color, so offers a great range of options.
But what if you have 4 PMS colors but still want variety in your project? Easy, SCREENS…lots of screens. You can print your PMS colors at 100% , or pull back those percentages on the same colors for a bit of variety without increasing your Prepress charges.