An inkling about printing process colors
In process color printing (CMYK), the colors are created by printing a combination of dots of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. The combination of dots of these four colors creates an optical illusion of thousands of different colors. Process printing is used when printing photos, full color illustrations, and other cases where a wide range of colors needs to be included on the finished piece.


In spot color printing the colors are usually specified in the file with spot swatches from software color books. Each color is printed with a specific ink that matches the swatch color. Spot colors might be specified when a particular value and hue are critical, or when a certain design effect is called for. Sometimes using spot colors can be more economical than full-color printing. Red Sun uses the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The swatch books representing Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated colors make picking a spot color a snap. By the way, the "'coated" and "uncoated" colors are actually the exact same ink, just printed on coated or uncoated paper. Other Pantone guides can be used to specify process color mixes, metallic ink colors, flourescent colors, and other specialty mixes. Process and spot colors can be combined in 5 and 6 color jobs.

Note: PMS colors need to be viewed using PMS swatch guides: the color shown on computer monitors or in most printer output are only approximations, and are almost never accurate for exact color.

To top off your job with the most durable finish, ask for a matte, glossy, or satin varnish. This thin coating will protect the paper and ink so the piece can be folded or handled more aggressively.

Red Sun Press uses vegetable-based ink for all its printing. Using vegetable-based inks is an alternative to the less environmentally-friendly petroleum-based inks. The difference in the printed result is indistinguishable. The inks used at Red Sun have low VOC, or volatile organic compounds, making them easy on the nose and lungs of those working in the pressroom. For more on Red Sun's environmental practices, see this.

In digital printing, the toners usually utilize a 4-color system like the CMYK model. These products might have a shinier look on the sheet because they are heat-set, but otherwise provide a good alternative to offset processes for short print runs.

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