CMYK color printing on press to achieve great color.
Much of achieving great CMYK color printing on press depends on how you prepare files, the use of process or spot color, and understanding CMYK and RGB modes.
While one can use primary, secondary, and tertiary colors on the color wheel, problems may arise when trying to replicate CMYK color printing on press. Colors showing on a monitor in RGB may not replicate well.
I bought a book years ago that was specifically for color schemes. It provided the CMYK screen builds for printing, and RGB and HTML values for online.
Matching RGB and CMYK on press
Most of the CMYK and RGB combinations did not match. Also, the publisher did not have a good book printer. Hardly anything matching as I tried to replicate color in the book to what I saw on my monitor. The color did not match the Pantone Color Bridge®. Although my monitor was not calibrated, the press proofs for the books that I design matched the monitor perfectly. Ninety-five percent of the time, we use coated paper stock versus uncoated to print books on press, that is, in CMYK color printing.
We do print some novels on uncoated stock, but coated stock is not that much more and is so much nicer to use coated stock for CMYK color printing.
Our business is built not only on our expertise, but also the use of our cadre of excellent printers. Having worked in color houses years ago, experience taught me two important things to keep in mind. Before assigning blame for bad color reproduction, understand these fundamentals:
CMYK process and Spot equivalents
CMYK screen builds and solid spot PMS inks match only about half the time. See the Pantone Color Bridge for quick verification. It is an essential tool every book designer should use. Authors do not need to invest in Pantone Color Bridge for coated stock, but book designers certainly need to own this guide if they are designing in process color.
Printing on press to match RGB
Replicating RGB on press can be difficult or often impossible. That is because printing on offset press always prints ink in CMYK, which is process color.
The inks are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK. These four inks combine to create process color. Process has a narrower array of color than RGB which is Red, Green, Blue. RGB is used on screens for computer monitors, iPads, and iPhones, and other digital devices. In conclusion, to achieve great CMYK color printing on offset press, understand the difference between CMYK and RGB, as well as when and how they are used.
See more about color in Chapter 8, Printing on Press.
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