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What’s the difference between spot colour & full colour

These are the 2 options available when deciding on the colouring of your printed materials

Digital printing only offers full colour (4 colour process) printing whereas offset Litho printing offers either 4 colour process or spot colour printing.

What is Full colour or Four colour process printing?

Full colour or otherwise known as Four Colour process is when the form of printing combines dots in different percentages from each of the 4 colours Cyan, Magenta , Yellow and Black, which are also referred to as CMYK, to create a range of colours.

What are Spot Colours?

Litho printing allows for any colour to be mixed and printed as a “spot colour” or also referred to as a pantone colour.

Spot colours are where the ink is precisely mixed from a wide range of colours and put into the press as a one off colour. There is a pantone matching system which gives each colour a PMS number.

What are the advantages of Spot Colour Printing?

When printing as spot colours it gives the colour a much more solid and consistent look but can be a more expensive process.

Printing Lingo

When quoting and describing the printing process you might have heard or seen shorthand terms to express how many colours are applied. Here is an explanation of some of the most common terms

4/1 means one side of the piece is printed in 4 colour process but the other side only receives one ink colour. More commonly black but can be considered as a spot colour so it is best to make this clear.

4/4 means both sides of the printed piece are printed in full colour process.

4/0 means one side of the piece is printed four colour process where the other side is left completely clear of print.

1/1 means both sides are printed with one ink colour again this is usually black but can be a specific spot colour

1/0 means one ink colour to one side only, again usually black with the reverse side is left blank.

2/0 usually means there are 2 spot colours to one side with the reverse side left completely blank. Again, needs more clarification when quoting and discussing spot colours.

firstMailing have the necessary skills to offer advice and print your marketing materials. If you would like further information then email or call one of team today to discuss in more detail.

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