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Printing color systems Spot color Pantone CMYK 4 color process

Printing color systems
If you're having a logo designed, it is important to understand the differences between the ways that color is printed. Depending on how your logo is designed will effect how you need to print the design.

Spot colors

Pantone swatch booklets for color samplingSpot colors are pre-mixed ink colors that are used to print each plate of an image. These are commonly known as Pantone Colors or PMS, Pantone Matching System colors, which can be easily matched to colors chosen from printed samples. Your local service bureaus will have these swatch booklets should you not have one.

Spot color is generally less costly because the image can be printed using only a few colors. The common vernacular for this printing style is 1-Color, 2-Color & 3 Color. Each color requires a separate plate, so the fewer colors the less expensive the print job will be.

Pantone colors

Pantone ink systemMost logo designers take advantage of the Internet for client review of proofs. This is an excellent method of client communication, and is becoming a pre-requisite of the industry. Internet browsers only display 216 colors. The Pantone Ink System has thousands of colors. To make sure that your printed pieces will have the same exact color you are seeing on your computer screen, ask your Printer to see the Pantone Color Swatch Book and look up the colors you have chosen with your logo designer. They will be very close to what you see on your screen but probably not exact. If at this point you decide on a color change, study the book carefully, and inform both the printer and your logo designer of your color changes.

Process colors 4 color process

4-Color Process is a printing method ideally suited for printed color photographs and other complex images. This style of printing breaks an image's color up into percentages of the 4 standard colors: CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black).

CMYK Cyan Magenta Yellow BlackThese four inks are applied to paper as dots. With the four separate plates combined, the full color images can be reproduced accurately.

Full Color Process printing is always more expensive, but this is unavoidable when printing color photos. In almost all cases your logo should be designed with fewer colors. It will be easier and less expensive to print for merchandising as well as for your marketing materials. The strength of this process is its color consistency.

Black only

Tones of black are achieved through a process called half toning, in which different tones are created by use of varying sizes of black dots. These different tones are commonly called tints or screens, also, sometimes referred to as grayscale.

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