How does Spot Color differ from CMYK?
Spot Color printing is great because it can save you money over printing in full-color. Many colors are actually comprised of 4-different colors (CMYK) and not a Spot Color at all. Confusing, right? We talk about this in our post about CMYK Color Printing and when we talked about Spot Colors.
So let’s say you’re creating a letterhead for your cleaning business. You don’t want boring black & white but you also know you’ll save some money if you don’t print in full-color. So you decide you’ll spice it up and do black and blue. The quote arrives for the 2-color letterhead and you’re happy with the price.
On your computer you layout your logo and contact information. Picking black for the wording and a bright blue to make your logo POP choosing colors from the swatches available within your design program. With the print file emailed to the printer you go on with your day. You later receive an email informing you that the file is in full-color, not Spot Color. What in the world is going on?
Finding a CMYK Color in Photoshop
A lot of people don’t understand that to be considered a Spot Color, you must choose a Pantone® color. These colors are specially formulated inks used in the printing process that do not require the printer to use any other ink colors. The blue you chose is actually a mixture of 84% Cyan, 41% Magenta, 3% Yellow and 0% Black, thus making it a full-color blue. Surprisingly, the same thing can be true for the black in different percentages. This is a simple mistake and it happens all the time.
Unfortunately, choosing a Pantone® color in a non-professional design program, such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint can be impossible because it lacks the Pantone® color palette you need. You may need to enlist the help of a professional graphic designer or use a professional design program such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. Having access to the Pantone® color palette is essential to choosing a Spot Color and achieving a 2-color printed letterhead.
The good news is, with over 1,800 Pantone® colors to choose from that blue & black most likely have an equivalent Pantone® color.
PLEASE NOTE: There are some instances where we can help a client easily convert a CMYK color to a Pantone® spot color. However, this highly depends on the program in which the artwork was created and the complexity of the color. As noted above, if a non-professional program such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint was used to design the file, there is not a way we can easily convert the colors. The client has two options, either print in full-color or re-design the file in another program that allows for a Pantone® spot color to be chosen. As for the complexity of the color, we do have in-house Pantone® swatches if a local client would like to choose a precise spot color.
We hope this article helps clarify some confusion and eliminates frustration. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us; we are here to help!
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