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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Color Options: What does it all mean!?

If you work or have associated yourself in the printing world, you should know what your color options are. We're talking about Pantone colors, 4/1 printing, and what not. So really, what should you know about color?

First, lets talk about the numbers. I'm sure a lot of you have seen them before, such as 2/1, 4/2, 4/0 and even 6/0! But what does all this mean!?!?

Well, the numbers are telling us how many colors are on what side. The first number represents one side of the paper, while the second number refers to the opposite side. As for the numbers, it refers to how many colors you can have on the specified side. So let's say, for instance, you need a custom printed postcard printed as 4/2 (would be said as "Four-over-two"). This would require that you would have 4 colors on one side and then only 2 colors on the other side. Now, there's A LOT of rookies out there who immediately think that a 2 color process only involves the use of 2 of the 4 colors on a CMYK press. Well, young padawan, much to learn, you have.

To be quick about this, this is what they mean:

4 color = CMYK. This means you can print photographs and images such as a picture of your dog or monkey.

2 color = 2 Pantone colors. This means you can ONLY use 2 Pantone colors given from the color pallette. No exceptions. The easiest way to do this is to use Illustrator and select the 2 colors you need from the Pantone color palette. If you're in Photoshop and you want to change a photograph into a 2 color process, follow this tutorial.

1 color = 1 Pantone color. Same thing as using a 2 color, but only using one.

6 color = The use of CMYK as well as 2 Pantone colors. Thus, bringing the color count to 6.

So there you have it for that hooplah.

Now, Pantone colors are probably the best thing since sliced bread. What makes them so great is that they have something available called a "Pantone Color Guide". When you look at this guide, you can accurately see what kind of color that will print. There's no color shift. No nothing. It's a guaranteed color.

Let's apply what you've learned to a real world situation.

If you're trying to print on a 9x12 envelope and you need it processed as 2/1. So that would mean there is going to be only 2 Pantone colors on one side and then only 1 Pantone color on the other.That's it!

If you have any questions regarding this, please leave a comment below and we will gladly answer it for you.

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