Pencil Colors

Print Colors

Color is a key component of printing. Offset printing is done in full color, also known as CMYK format. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black). Your printed product is actually made up of thousands of tiny dots printed in layers to create the desired range of colors. 

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Understanding Print Codes

Color codes in the print process can be a little confusing, especially if you don't deal with them on a regular basis. They typically denote the number of colors being printed on each side of a given piece of paper. We've included standard print codes below to help you understand exactly what you'll see throughout the print process.

Standard Print Codes

  • 0 = Blank page (no printing)

  • 1C = 1 ink color printing on the page

  • 2C = 2 ink colors printed on the page

  • 4C = 4 ink colors printed on the page

  • # / # =  Front Side / Back Side

  • For instance, 4/1, means the front side will have 4 color printing, and the back side will have only 1 color.

Image by Markus Spiske
Image by Mika Baumeister

Other Print Color Info

PMS is the abbreviation for Pantone Color System, the worldwide system for color. Printing in PMS is an option, but it is more expensive than 4c printing.

Also, note that the colors on your computer screen are in RGB, which is different than printing in CMYK and can cause color variance if the item printed is saturated with color. To ensure accuracy in this area, run a “wet proof”—a physical mock up of your product, fully printed. 

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