CMYK to PMS. Text in black, process or spot.
There are differences. Avoid costly printing mistakes and time revising your files. Often those designing and laying out books make a crucial mistake with the black 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. So, here we go …
First example – Black ink Text
The take away: Use Black in the basic swatch palette for text throughout the book.
Usually the text in a novel or coffee table book is setup to be 10, 11, or 12 point. The text should most often be black text. However, we can get into problems if it is not plain black ink. See the first box in the image above. Type for the text is small when comparing it to other print elements or design. Headlines and subheads are often larger than the text type size.
One black text ink is in use, and can come from a single ink tray, as printing 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. In this example, the ink is ‘Black’ in the swatch palette or drawn from the black tray only in printing. Do no use ‘Registration’ black.
Second example – Screenbuild Text Color in process CMYK
The take away: Don’t use Process Color for text throughout the book.
In the second box above, you will see that we are showing a screenbuild, which is is any color built from CMYK. We’ve imposed a circle over the capital ‘A’, with a process color rosette. When printing each CMYK ink, each ink screen has a different angle. When printing screens on on top of each other, and together they form a rosette, as seen in the circle.
You can see a slight color glow in the illustrated text. It is from the edges of the rosette, and most apparent on type sizes typically used in a book’s body text. The hue might not affect large headlines depending on the headline size and a type style.
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 for this unwanted halo effect when you see a physical, color proof in advance of printing.
If you have setup the text in process color, change it to “Black’ in the Swatches palette, and in Paragraph and Character Styles in InDesign. Be careful with text color. Next … CMYK to PMS color …
Third example – SPOT – Change CMYK to PMS ink
The take away: If you use a Spot ink, it adds a fifth ink try to the press, and it’s a significant additional charge.
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 a Pantone spot color. Text color, using PMS inks, can be printed in four-color, or a single solid 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 spot inks, for example. You may be changing the text color from CMYK to PMS text. You may choose spot black for text, and one PMS spot for a headline or decoration.
An option for a two-color book is to not use black at all. We recommend a dark PMS for one spot ink, and a contrasting 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.