matching the right blacksBlack on Black, I want my Baby back….

The two previous blogs on Black have given tips on what to do and how to use Black in its standard and composite form but what if you are matching files with photographs,  illustrations and text?

Recently in making up an advert from a supplied logo which couldn’t be recreated, the problem occurred as it was sitting on a black background which wasn’t quite the right shade of black.


On screen it looked fine. On the high resolution pdf it looked dreadful.

wrong blackThe background of the logo could not be easily cut out or smoothly replaced as its resolution was too small and the quality was poor. It had to be left in a closely cropped bounding box and laid on top of a black background. The background had to be matched to the box.

When opening the logo file in photoshop you can use the eyedropper to select the black and get the composition of the black then match it, however this is still not exact when translating to Quark or desktop publishing programmes.

Be very careful as on screen all blacks look the same, to check what you are actually producing make a high resolution PDF and look at it closely.

On a composite illustration or photograph you can overlay a vignette or blend two blacks together, beware of hard edges and vignettes that do not fade to ‘0’ or you can find some unattractive results.

Check what black is being used by each software programme, Illustrator gives you options on using Rich Black. Photoshop has its own value for black which needs to be noted. If building a design and using lots of black elements together, I would suggest take them all into the one editing programme and get the blacks consistent before compiling them in a DTP software. The other option is to produce one composite file and import as an image.

black on black

spot uv example
Logos and text effects…

Great effects can be obtained by using different blacks on black combining it with shades and tints. Using Spot UV is a very popular way of creating eye catching effects. Great for business cards, and chocolate boxes!!


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


For tips on "How To Work With A "God" Oops! I Mean, "Good" Graphic Designer And Save Money! Download the book now