How many Colors should I use in Print and Graphic Design process ?

We have all been here.  You’re designing a new brochure, postcard, or newsletter and want to make sure it looks great. You’re considering printing it full-color, but aren’t sure if that’s the best option to choose, considering your budgetary needs. Below are a few helpful tips to help you decide how many colors to use and how to make the most of the colors you choose.

 When to use spot color
  • You only need one or two colors for the printed piece.
  • Your project doesn’t include any full-color photos.
  • Your corporate colors need to be reproduced to an exact specifications and cannot be reproduced faithfully enough by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK)… the four “process” colors.
  • Your project calls for fluorescent, metallic, or other special inks
When to use process color
  • You need more than two colors.
  • Your piece includes full-color photos
No matter what color combination you choose to move forward with, there are some things you can do to ensure your project goes smoothly. For example, as you’re preparing your artwork, make sure you aren’t “duplicating” any colors. Look through the color palette in your page layout software and remove any duplicate colors you find, and reassign the corresponding objects and layers accordingly.
Make sure you give your colors the same names in each application you use for the project. For example, make sure you give the color the same name in InDesign as you give it in Photoshop and Illustrator. This will help reduce confusion and ensure the colors separate properly when preparing the piece for print.
Finally, if you decide to go with process printing, use your design software to convert any spot colors you have to their CMYK equivalents. When doing so, double-check the values the software assigns, to ensure good printability. For example, if Photoshop gives a color a 1% magenta value, you might want to do some tweaking to eliminate the need for that value. This is a little tricky and you should consider printing a proof to ensure the color(s) are to your liking.
The MGS Team has been preparing files and helping our customers make these decisions for over 15years. We’ll be happy to help you optimize your files for print and answer any questions you have while producing your files.
Until next time… Stay Creative!