cmyk vs spot color printing norka

CMYK vs Spot Color – Which is Best for Printing or Packaging Design?

When working with Norka, Inc., you can expect color accuracy, sharpness, and high-quality. Whether it’s printed using spot colors, CMYK, or both, our in-house prepress printing department will put the “pop” in your packaging.

Do you know the difference between CMYK (4-color process method) and Spot Colors? How about the advantages and disadvantages of each process?

What is CMYK Printing?

CMYK printing is the current standard color printing process in the printing industry. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black (K), and these color combinations give a full range of colors while also adding a black element for deeper, darker colors that jump off of the page or package. Generally speaking, most if not all printing utilizes CMYK printing.

The CMYK color model is a subtractive color model, used in color printing. CMYK refers to the four colors- cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

  • C = Cyan
  • M = Magenta
  • Y = Yellow
  • K = Black

CMYK or 4-Color Process Method 

The most common method of achieving color in printing is referred to as CMYK, four color process, or even just process; all colors are printed in dots. The mix or overlapping of these colors create a full-color wheel spectrum, shown in the accompanying image.  

Advantages of CMYK

The CMYK process is ideal for high-graphics or photographic type images that have lots of color depths. CMYK is the best method to achieve the most realistic looking photographs possible for a printed piece. It’s an efficient process that can minimize costs and increases print productivity.

cmyk vs spot color printing norka cmyk example

Disadvantages of CMYK

Colors from CMYK are produced by layering colors of dots over other colors of dots. Due to this mix of dots over dots, there is a higher chance of color variations. Additionally, when using CMYK colors,  there are fewer color possibilities. When compared to digital rendering (that uses RGB), there are fewer color options. At Norka, we closely quality control all of our printing and package design services, so color variations are minimized or eliminated altogether.

What is Spot Color Printing?

Spot color printing uses a color system of solid or premixed colors known as Pantone Colors that are applied only to the area of the assigned color. When printing in a single (spot) colors, there will be a separate plate and single run of the process. If there are two colors, there will be two plates and two runs, and so on.

Advantages of Spot Color Printing

When using spot printing, colors are exact and accurate to the original design. This is because they are assigned a specific Pantone color number. Pantone Color is a standardized color matching system, utilizing their numbering system for identifying specific colors and where they fall on a color wheel or grid. By standardizing these colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a single Pantone numbered color. This ensures all colors match exactly, without direct comparison with one another. The spot color method does not require the mixing of ink, and guarantees a true consistent color in every production run. Spot Colors are generally less expensive when printing three colors or less.

cmyk vs spot color printing norka spot color

Disadvantages of Spot Color Printing

Spot Color printing is not a great fit for digital print. This means that digital printers or digital press cannot utilize spot color printing on packaging design. Spot color printing should also not be utilized when printing full-color detailed photography.

If you want your product to stand out from the competitions and catch your customers’ eyes on the shelf, expert printing and product packaging is a must. At Norka, we start with our custom strategic design process and prototyping to ensure your complete satisfaction. Our printing equipment produces only the highest quality, high color, beautiful packaging for your products.

We maintain strict control of all aspects of the production process, including cost, quality, and project lead times. As a full-service Paper Converting and Packaging company, we offer converting, high-speed printing, die cutting, automated blanking, and in-line gluing all under one local roof.

Posted in Package Design.