Old Street Press Old Street Press

A Guide to Colour

We can produce colour in two different ways from spot colours (also known as solid or special colours) using the Pantone Matching System® (PMS) or from the four colour process method using a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK.

Colour Chart

Solid colours are produced by mixing ink or using pre-mixed ink to a particular shade from the PMS colour guide. The pigments used are clean and bright and produce a faithful representation of colour.

CMYK colour is created by printing dots of the four base colours next to each other in varying percentages, or dot sizes. By doing so an illusion of colour is created with the naked eye blending the dots together. If you examine, under a magnifying glass, any printed colour picture, you will see a pattern of dots which at normal reading distance the eye sees as a series of solid colours. Therefore CMYK is a compromise of what can be achieved using solid or spot colours. The CMYK pigments tend to be much dirtier, and thus are unable to achieve the brightness associated with Pantone solid colours. Generally, the cleaner and brighter the Pantone® colour, the poorer the simulation will be.  This means that the same colour can and does look different depending on which system is used to print your work!

If the accuracy of the colour of your corporate image is vital solid colours should be used.

There are a number of other issues that affect colour reproduction such as the material used and the method of printing but we can advise you on that when we meet with you.

The colour on screen
Colour Print Cafe Pasta

Getting the colour you see on screen to look the same on paper does pose a problem.  When you look at your computer monitor, you see colours produced electronically with light rays using RGB values (red, green and blue-just like television). When we print in colour on paper, we use one of the methods described above. In order to print in colour on paper, you must convert your RGB colour files to CMYK files. This means you cannot rely on your colour monitor’s display for colour selection, correction, or proofing. What you see is not what you get!
Colours you see on screen may be very different from printed colours.

Bombay Dreams Flyer

We can show you examples of printing on various paper types to meet your budget and esthetic needs.

Click to enlarge in PDF Format