Black, Registration Black, Offset Rich Black & Digital Rich Black

Production Tips & Tricks

There are basically four different colors of black for different printing situations. There is Black, Offset Rich Black, Digital Rich Black and Registration Black. When do you use each?

Black, this is defined as 100% Black no other colors are added or involved. Typically this is used for text and spot color jobs. Depending on the paper and application, this is not a color you want to use with large areas of coverage. It is best for text or detail areas where registration or mis-registration would be a problem.

Offset Rich Black, this is defined at Printing Partners, as 30% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 30% Yellow, and 100% Black. This gives a nice deep black color. It is used for areas of large black coverage or areas where you want a nice rich looking black. It should not be used for small point size text, you might be able to use it for very large text, but check with us first.

Digital Rich Black, is defined as 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow and 100% Black. This differs slightly from Offset Rich Black because of how a digital press produces color. An Offset Rich Black can be used in digital printing, but you will get the best results on our equipment using this color combination.

Registration Black is defined as 100% in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This color should be used only for crop marks and registration marks. This color is used for marks so they will print clearly on the plates and press, it gives us the ability and the automatic systems on the press to keep the plates aligned as they run through the press. Thus producing correct dot pattern and ultimately color. This color also places much too much ink on the sheet of paper, it would take days for this to dry.

The proper use of black can save you time and money. Typically we watch your files to make sure you are using black correctly, if we find a problem area it may need to be corrected. That can delay your schedule and potentially cost you money if we have to fix it.

If you have any questions on the proper use of black in your document, please contact your salesperson or CSR, they will be glad to assist you.

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3 Responses to Black, Registration Black, Offset Rich Black & Digital Rich Black

  1. Pingback: Please don’t build your files in printer spreads « Connecting the Dots

  2. Ronni says:

    For digital printing: can you use a tint of black, i.e. 10% black text, on a 4-color black background? I would also like to screen back a symbol on the 4-color background. Can I use a 90% tint of the same 4-color black? How would that combination appear on matte vs glossy stock?

    • Ronni,
      You can do tints of colors, but we would not suggest using transparency or adjusting opacity. 10% black text would show up on a rich black. 90% tint should show up, but it depends on what you are doing and the press it is printing on. As for how it would appear on the paper, digital ink sits on top of the paper. It won’t absorb in like traditional soy inks do. So the difference between matte or glossy stock in digital and how if affects the inks is minimal. The difference the paper makes in digital is the contrast of the paper to the printed area, but again that depends on the press.

      The best advice we could give would be to ask for a proof on the different stocks. Work with your printer. If you have a good standing relationship with a printer, sometimes they will do a set of proofs of your design for you at little to no cost, if you are planning on printing the project with them.

      Don’t know if that answered your question or not. Good luck with your project!

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