the blackest blackRich Black, what you need to know…

In the previous Black Blog we talked about the ‘composite black’ or ‘Rich Black’ and how  it produces a deeper colour than the standard 100K black, due to being made up with a percentage of one or all of the other colours.

For example some composite blacks range from 30% or 50% Cyan plus 100%K.

While all blacks on the screen will look the same this is not the case when printed on paper.

Ideally 100% of all four colours would produce the most perfect black. This isn’t recommended, and I hope all Printers will agree, for three main reasons.

1. The more ink used the more expensive the print job.

2. The more ink on the paper the slower the drying time.

3. The heavier the saturation of ink, the thicker the stock has to be to soak it up.

black specs 2The trade off in printing the perfect black for its density against its drying time  is actually determined by Photoshop, which is 63C 52M 51Y 100K.

(Here’s the technical bit…this formula is the result of converting a file from RGB to CMYK, the areas of absolute black in RGB , 0R 0G 0B, become the above percentages in CMYK.)

Really all you have to know is that because it has a percentage of all colours it is deeper and richer and more solid!

There are many variations on this formula so use the one you like – experiment, but remember what you use for future reference!

One thing to be aware of – while being perfect for Black headlines on coloured or photographic backgrounds, and helps with trapping issues, do not use Rich Black for typography or thin lines…why? It is made up of all 4 colours so the register and sharpness will be be exactly the same as using a CMYK composite colour.

To obtain sharp type with no halo, use only 100K!

My tip, talk to your printer and get his advice or suggestion if in any doubt.

A recently project was rebranding and producing a range of printed stationery and marketing leaflets. The black used was 100K 30C and it produced the perfect results required while keeping costs and production time down. The client was delighted and the printer was happy!

of A.N.G Creative Design, based in Essex, UK, helping you communicate your message to your clients and generating more leads and sales.


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