Used in the Printing Industry
The Pantone Matching System
When it comes to your company’s corporate logo, it is important to know your Pantone colors to achieve consistency in the reproduction of your corporate ink color(s). Many of the industries that print inks on a substrate, from paper to plastics, ceramics or glass, all use the same color standard, the Pantone Matching System (PMS), as a method of determining and communicating color accuracy.
There are two main types of printing inks used in commercial printing, and it is important for any print buyer to know and understand the limitations and differences between the two ink color types.
Process Ink Colors, also known as CMYK, are used in commercial printing to produce full color printing, such as color photos and multi-colored illustrations. The four colors of ink are overlapped on the printing press to create the illusion of the nearly unlimited numbers of colors in a photograph. When printing is produced in process color, the logo(s) and other copy are usually also printed in CMYK inks.
Solid Ink Colors (also known “spot” PMS colors) are mixed to the desired color BEFORE the ink is applied to the paper (or other surface), much as paint colors are mixed before you paint a wall. Solid PMS colors are the ink types usually used in short-run “quick printing,” as well as most promotional product printing. When precise color matching is required (such as logo colors), Pantone Solid Colors may also be printed in addition to the four CMYK colors. Combining process and solid colors become 5 or more total ink colors, so price increases can be significant.
Process Ink Colors – CMYK
Process color printing (also know as 4-color printing or full color printing) is the mixing of four ink colors during the printing process to produce a nearly unlimited number of colors.
The four process color inks are: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K – “Key”).
CMYK printing involves the use of halftones and screens to distribute the images, illustrations and text into a pattern of dots onto the printing plates which are then transferred to the paper. The tiny dots of each primary color are printed in a pattern so small that they are perceived as the many various color tones within the image of the artwork.
Skin tone is a mixture of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, with little or no Black. The right side of the above image, when viewed from a distance, will appear to blend and the right side of the image will be perceived as a darker area of skin. As the dots become smaller on the left the color of the image will appear to be a lighter skin tone. Notice where the cyan (blue) and yellow dots overlap one another the color appears to be green.
Whilst you may be aware that digital and offset printing are the two most common types, you might be unsure which will best suit your needs (whether they be commercial or personal). In this article, we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of both options – you will need to weigh these against your particular project in order to come to a decision about which will be best suited. Making an informed decision is always the best way!