Working with black text, text color and CMYK to PMS color – and how to get it right!
Black text, text color and CMYK to PMS color are all sort of the same topic, but there are differences. Avoid costly printing mistakes, or just time revising your files. So, here’s the scoop …
Often those designing and laying out books make a crucial mistake with their basic text used throughout the book. They either make it CMYK text color, or they add a Pantone PMS color without realizing that it changes the cost to print the book.
First example – Black Text
Usually the text in a novel or coffee table book is set-up to be 10, 11, or 12 point. The text should most often be black text. However, we can get into problems it it is not plain black ink. See the first box in the image above Text type is small when comparing to other print elements or design. Often headlines and subheads are larger than the type size used for the text.
One black text ink is in use, and can come from a single ink tray, as run on a one-color press. Much of the time, Star Print Brokers is printing on 6-color presses, using four trays of ink — cyan, magenta, yellow, and black — also called CMYK process color.
Second example – Text Color in CMYK
In the second box above, you will see that we’ve illustrated CMYK black text ink. We’ve imposed a circle over it with a process color rosette. When printing each layer of CMYK color, each screen of color has a slightly different angle. When printing one on top of the other, this forms what we term in printing, a rosette.
You can see in the image a slight color glow, and actual text color. It is in a distracting hue, and most apparent on text sizes typically used in the books text block. The hue might not affect large headlines.
This text color is a design error and will not print well on press. Very large or heavy block text in a large size should print well. When you print your book with Star Print Brokers, you will be able to double check this when you see a physical, color proof in advance of printing.
If you have set-up the text in process color, change it to black in the Swatch Palette or in your Paragraph and Character style sheets in InDesign. Be careful with text color. Next … CMYK to PMS color …
Third example – CMYK to PMS color for Pantone inks
Let’s say that you are designing away, and would like to change from a CMYK ink to PMS color — Pantone Matching System — for certain text styles or smaller headlines, subheads, or captions. That means that in a typical process color book, the cost to print increases because of additional inks. Be sure of what the printing quote says before adding PMS color. Text color using PMS inks can be printed in four-color, or a single ink. If it is a single ink, this is called ‘spot’ color, instead of ‘process’ color.
If you don’t have full color images, you could design a book in two ink colors. You may be changing the text color from CMYK to PMS text. You may choose spot black text ink, and one PMS spot ink. In this example, we use two trays, one spot for the black text color ink, and one in the PMS color spot ink of your choice.
Another option for a two-color book is to not use black at all. We recommend a dark PMS for one spot ink, and a contracting ink for other elements. How about deep purple for text and a dark gold for headlines? Deep brown for text with red headlines?
In Summary …
You are the designer and there are many options. However, technically you should avoid process CMYK color text, and always verify the quote if inks change, as it will change the cost.
We are including a first set of physical color proofs in your quote. Try to send us PDFs that are correct from the start. We do charge for an additional set of color proofs.