Four-color CMYK is the most common color choice for offset printing. This process combines Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink to create the millions of vibrant colors you see on most print material.
Black and White printing, on the other hand, uses only black ink. This may be a better choice for projects that rely only on grayscale designs. While this is cheaper than CMYK printing, there is still a significant setup cost associated, as the printing presses for both CMYK and Black and White are often the same.
Sometimes a desired color cannot be duplicated with CMYK printing. When that happens we call it “out of gamut.” This means that the desired color has qualities that are not producible with the standard CMYK inks. This is where a “spot” color comes in. Spot color is often also referred to as a pantone color, with Pantone being the company that creates and distributes specifically calibrated inks. For example, a color like a florescent yellow needs to be printed as a spot color since the CMYK spectrum can’t produce that shade.
Spot color can also be used to make colors pop on kraft stock, by printing a layer of white below the part of your design that you want to make pop. Please note that white spot color is more expensive than other spot colors, due to a special UV drying process.
Other times, the spot color allows for color consistency across print runs – which is helpful for maintaining brand integrity. For more information about spot colors please read more on our website here.