Ink Saturation

21/10/2008

It’s advisable to keep your target printing environment in mind when setting up your files. Depending on the format of your web-to-print document, the colors may print in in unexpected manner without adjustment.
For example, artwork that is supposed to look like a shadow should be set up with a rich black (or gray) that includes the background color. “Shadows” that employ blended steps between some color and a non-rich black look faded, as in the example on the upper-left of the illustration.

Various saturation levels

Various ink saturation levels

In circumstances where a deep, rich black is desired, it is tempting to create a fully saturated color which contains 100% of each of the four process colors. Unfortunately, this will often result in excessive ink coverage when printing, which can cause buckled paper and inconveniently long drying times. A visually deep black can be achieved with a mixture that doesn’t exceed a maxiumum ink saturation of 300%. Note that the 270% saturated color in the middle of the illustration appears basically as dark as the 400% saturated color on the right.

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