Monthly Archives: September 2010

CYMK–why is K black–why are you making this hard?

Commercial color printing 101. Four color printing. How do you know it’s four color? Photos, full color illustrations? Good bet it is four color. What do I mean by four color? Four colored inks are used to recreate all the colors we see on a printed page. It is usually referred to as full color printing, four color printing or CYMK printing. Again four colors. So far so good. These are the four colors:

  1. Cyan (blue)
  2. Yellow
  3. Magenta (bright )
  4. Black (known as “K”)

This the most expensive of the printing processes. The cost is higher because each sheet of paper is run through the press four times. The cost comes from the fact that the press has to be set up for each ink. Professional digital printers print CMYK as the inks. Printing can get even more expensive when coatings and vanishes are added but I’ve promised to keep things simple.
Couple of things to keep in mind if you need to save money, two color printing is cheaper, that involves two spot colors (Next post) one is usually black. Don’t print three color, price wise you’re coming into four color price territory so you may as well spring for the four color printing. If it is digital printing, go for the four color, the price will be the same. How do you know how it’s going to get printed? Well, you call up the printer your are using and ask him or her. Many companies have print representatives, ask.
By the way, if you were wondering, K is used for black because it represents the Keyline or key plate, the printing plate that the other plates (C, Y, M are aligned to) hence K.


Finding the perfect partner–it can happen!

I’m referring to fonts of course. Font pairings has been a topic in design circles this summer. And yes, I suppose I’m using a blog topic on another blog, so what? It’s all new to you right? Let’s move on. Using one typeface for headings and pull quotes and another for the body will give a type heavy page balance and a clear segue to the next section or concept. The reason why I’m addressing this at all is because when you receive a draft from a designer I want you to look at the type. Don’t read the copy, look at it. Does it flow? Does it feel right? Think about if the headings are the right weight for the body. Chances are it is right. Asking your designer to be mindful of their type choices before they begin the project is fine especially if the document is particularly type heavy. What I’m not advocating is you start questioning every choice your designer makes. I actually am hoping you will notice the good, solid choices your designer made and appreciate their skill and understanding of you. Now if the unheard of happens and the type choices are not quite what you hoped for here is a list of pairings you can steer your designer too.

And for those who have the occasional task of preparing a word document, I’ve included here a few font pairings for the PC. I tried to use typefaces you most likely have resident on your system and will not cause font problems if the document is opened on another system. That of course can be avoided by saving and sending your file as a PDF. Now as a designer I’ve done the unconceivable. I’ve included pairings with … Times. In the design world, as all sapient people know, Times is going out of fashion or has gone out. Or has it? Who knows. Don’t sweat it, for you it’s the message, not the medium.

  1. Arial–Garamond
  2. Century Gothic–Bookman
  3. Futura– Palatino
  4. Franklin Gothic–Times
  5. Gill Sans–Times