The top 5 color related mistakes that hurt your final product and how to find the errors before sending to print.
Top 5 color mistakes that hurt the quality of your final product
- Inconsistent color assignments
It's very easy to assign different colors to objects that should be the same exact color. On screen, the differences aren't always captured. In print, color differences become much more obvious.
Use output preview to hover over objects that should be the same color. If the percentages are different, you're likely to see that difference in print.
- Use of non neutral graysThis is very common since most images are made with RGB and you need to convert to CMYK. If you convert your files using the wrong profiles, you may get images that only use CMY (cyan, magenta, and yellow) to create the image without using black. On screen, your grays will look perfect but once you print, you'll see a magenta/yellow/cyan tone across the image since it's very difficult to manufacture that color for a true neutral gray color.
Use output preview to check your work before you send it to us. If it's barely using any black, then your image will likely have a hue you won't be expecting. Go back and adjust the color or try a different color profile. We like using Gracol 2006.
- Fonts do not look sharp even when using vector artworkMost of the work we produce is made using cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). This means that if you use a mix of those colors, we're mixing dots together to create the final color and if you're using thin fonts, it'll look jagged.
Use output preview to determine the CMYK makeup and adjust fonts accordingly. If you want crystal clear text, use 100% of either black, cyan, magenta, or yellow. The most common color is black which is why you see this color scheme the most for designs.
- Fonts look jagged or white fonts look like they have a color hue even though the file looks perfect.This is similar to item 3 but the inverse effect. If you're placing a different colored text within a solid area of color, you may see a hue. This is due to the CMYK colors not aligning perfectly around the text. We can control this somewhat but we cannot guarantee it'll be perfect every time since it's a manufacturing limitation. If you have white text within a solid black area, we strongly strongly encourage you to make that block 100% black so the text looks super sharp. We also strongly advise against using thin fonts when printing on top of solid printed areas. Your text will likely look poor and almost illegible.
Use output preview to check your solid color areas to see potential challenges within your artwork.
- Incorrect color assignments for spot colors / speciality colors / Pantone colors.It's not uncommon to have artwork that incorrectly assigns spot colors. If you do not assign your spot colors correctly, the final print will not produce correctly.
We use output preview extensively to check and make sure spot colors are assigned properly. Check out this video on how we make sure our silver spot color is assigned properly. Whenever we uncheck the spot colors, anything we expect to be in silver should disappear. If we're laying color on top, we also expect the color to show up when we open up output preview.
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