Color Basics: CMYK

Here in the Midwest, we’re happy to see some COLOR finally reappear in the landscape. Color outside makes us think about color in books. Lately,  we’ve been printing a lot of great color in our books, and we do get loads of questions about this topic.

By now you’ve figured out that there’s lots of lingo to know in printing. Let’s start with the basics. One phrase you have probably heard more than once is 4 color process. The four color printing process is universally used in the graphic arts and commercial printing industry for the reproduction of color images and text.

Four-color process simply means that the four colors combine: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, or CMYK for short. The K is Black. You can think of CMYK as building blocks because most of the color spectrum can be reproduced with just the four process ink colors.

 

CMYK, the building blocks of color printing.

CMYK, the building blocks of 4-color printing.

These four colors combine during the printing process to create the full color butterfly image, pictured to the right. Formerly, this was achieved with photographic film on a graphic arts camera, but it is usually done digitally with software now.Look at the detail view of the wing. It’s really just dots of CMYK, using filters and screens and combined, forming the final 4-color image.

So now you know what CMYK is and you’re ready to quote. You’re most likely going to run into some letter/number combinations that are confusing. Here are a few shortcuts you’re likely to see:

4/0:  It means:  4 color process on side 1, no color on side 2

4/4:  It means:  4 color process on side 1 and side 2

4/K:  It means: 4 color process on side 1, Black (K) on side 2

Color is one of our specialties at PG. It’s not just for covers; more and more, we’re seeing it used within text pages and insert sections.  We’re always happy to help you understand it and  utilize it in your titles.  To help you get inspired,  here are a few images of color books recently printed.

DSC_0846DSC_0813DSC_0835

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: