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How to recognise when different blacks will affect your print job


Rachel Viski from design agency Minta Viski shares her top tips for designers

There are many variables that will determine the quality of your print job. Here, we take a look at the ever-important black including the various types, their values and how they’re best applied to both digital and offset print jobs.

Standard Black

C: 0 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 100

This black is best used for printing on small areas such as text, icons or illustrations. It will appear washed out on a large area. The reason for this is because only black ink is added into the mix without the use of any other colour channels to provide depth.

Registration Black

C: 100 M: 100 Y: 100 K: 100

This mix uses 100% of cyan, 100% of magenta, 100% of yellow and 100% of black and is used as registration marks (those little lines on the edge of your artwork) to ensure that all the colours on a job match up when Progress Printing sends your artwork through the press. 

Neutral Rich Black (for use on stock 130gsm and above)

C: 60 M: 40 Y: 40 K: 100

Now, this mix varies with different designers (aesthetic preferences) and printers (total ink coverage limits) but this is what we use! This particular mix uses varying percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black mixed together to give a rich, punchy black and is best used when your print job is on a stock 130gsm and above (business cards, book covers, postcards, etc.).

Neutral Rich Black (for use on stock under 130gsm)

C: 30 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 100

This mix is same, same, but different from the neutral rich black colour values from above. It is best used when you still wish for a rich, punchy black but only need a light weight stock (internal book pages, advertisements, etc.). This mix will ensure the paper stock doesn’t become saturated with too much ink.

Overprint Black

Use the same colour value as neutral rich black.

If your artwork uses a black shape over the top of a vivid colour, the colour may show through if you don’t use the correct black. Remember, a Standard Black only allows one channel of the mix to flow through the job. A Neutral Rich Black allows other colours into the mix to flow through the job.

All of this said, your print job will be even more of a success if you communicate your end print goals with the friendly Progress Printing team. And if it’s the client that’s giving you grief, pop on over to my last post about how to write an effective brief and get those expectations aligned!






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