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Color Models: What Your Options Are

When it comes to fabricating your print project, choosing to utilize the Offset printing method can be advantageous for a variety of reasons. Offset printing produces high quality graphics, is cost and time efficient for high volume jobs, and works on just about any substrate. However, one thing to consider with the Offset printing method is your color model. Unlike Digital printers that can easily reproduce millions of colors, Offset printing requires a skilled operator to set up a particular ink palette for each job. The color model you choose depends on both your budget (more ink equals higher cost) and the look you are going for.

Let’s discuss your options.

Single Color

Single color is precisely what it sounds like. This color model involves using just one type of ink, meaning that the entirety of your print will be different tints of the selected color. In most cases, this color is black. This is the least expensive color model to print on an offset press because, as previously mentioned, more ink correlates with a higher price.

Spot Color

Spot color is the next color model option you have for your Offset print project. Much like single color, your publication is printed as a tint of a single ink (once again, usually black.) However, a tint of one or more additional colors (the spot color) is incorporated, oftentimes as an accent. A minimum of two inks is required for this color model, however, more can be added if desired. For this reason, spot color coloring varies in price based on how many different colors you want to use. This is especially the case if you use this method for short run jobs, which can raise the cost of production even higher than our next color model.

Process Colors (CMYK)

This color model is your classic, full color option. This method involves using various combinations of the four process-color inks, often known as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), to achieve different colors. Most colors can be achieved with process colors, but not all of them. For instance, metallic or intensely saturated colors cannot be created using the CMYK approach.

These inks need to be properly set up on the press prior to printing. Registration, or the act of aligning one ink's impression with the others, requires a significant amount of time and a high level of expertise on the part of the press operator. Because of these factors, this model tends to be more expensive than spot-color.

Process + Spot Colors

Due to the fact that it combines process-color printing with one or more spot-color inks, this color model is the most expensive to print. You would only use this color model if you need full color as well as a highly saturated or shiny color that CMYK cannot generate.

Print experts, like the ones here at Omega, are more than happy to offer suggestions on which color model to go with, based on how much you want to spend, and how you want your finished product to look. However, in the end, the choice is yours, so it is important to know your options! As long as you are educated on what color models you have to choose from, you can be confident that you will make the right decision for your print!

Looking for a printing company near you that can bring your custom designs to life? Omega offers an array of printing services that are guaranteed to get the job done right, every time. Contact us, today!

Written by Omega High Impact Print Solutions’ Digital Marketing Manager, Emily Steel


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