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  • Rich Black vs Black

    Hi Forum,

    I would like to hear your general thoughts and advice on using 'black' in any design destined for litho offset print...

    If i were to create a book cover, back page to be black, to be printed on 250gsm coated stock, personally i would use a traditional method of 40% cyan + 100% black,

    What benefit or risk is associated with using a rich black, say 60C, 50M, 50Y, 100K ?

    The obvious risks to me are total ink coverage and dying time, registration for text...obviously trapping - spread in CMY - fixes that issue...

    Would you ever advocate the use of rich black in CMYK ?

    Appreciate any feedback,

    Cheers,

    N.

  • #2
    Re: Rich Black vs Black

    abosolutely fine to use Rich Black in CMYK - for large areas we ask customers to go 60,40,40,100 but allow total ink to hit 280 otherwise

    yes, pulling back the trap for CMY in Rich Black such as these is always a very good idea, our presses stay in pretty tight registration, so we just pull back the CMY the thickness of a standard trap (.06mm)

    although it may take a bit longer to dry you could always have the job run on a press with a UV coater allowing minimal dry time, which, with this stock might be a good idea to keep the ink from getting scuffed - considering it is for a book might be a given, you'd like a book to stick around a while and look good while it's still of use

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    • #3
      Re: Rich Black vs Black

      Rich,

      Thanks for that, however, let me ask you this...

      Assume i'm the designer, and i ask you to spec the values for a black book cover, would you say use rich black in CMYK, or would you say use C + K ?

      What would be your preference ?

      Thanks,

      N.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rich Black vs Black

        > {quote:title=nickyg wrote:}{quote}
        > Rich,
        >
        > Thanks for that, however, let me ask you this...
        >
        > Assume i'm the designer, and i ask you to spec the values for a black book cover, would you say use rich black in CMYK, or would you say use C + K ?
        >
        > What would be your preference ?
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > N.


        *Choice#1:* Our production person would often suggest the use of C + K; this person still doesn't understand why designers often have a need to use rich 4C black vs 2 color cool black; color theory in design/art is being taught for a very good reason. You can't places a rich color silo object against a 40C 100K and say it looks great when compare side-by-side with a 4C black.

        *Choice#2:* I'm the opposite and often advice our designers to use the rich 4/C as they see necessary with their design; we'll find out what our vendor can handle and what their ink limits are; if vendor comes back and says their equipments can handle the typical photoshop 4/C 300% rich black, we may want to push that limit or tone it down a notch to reduce dry time and go from there.

        Keep your options open allows you to learn more about the abilities of both your designers and vendors. The easy way out is to follow a strict rule blindly and never learn anything new.

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        • #5
          Re: Rich Black vs Black

          Rich,

          Again many thanks for this info, however, my past experience way back to the days when i was a film planner, was 2 color black C+K...

          I appreciate that a cool black won't look good against a rich black,

          Let me ask you this, i use print vendors around the world, UK, EUROPE, FAR EAST etc, one vendor point blank refuses us to allow the use of rich black for substantial black panels, even though it's on decent weight of paper, printed litho offset. Surely my safest option to avoid printer issues is to use cool blacks, i.e. the 'traditional way' ?, what we don't have the time for is costly corrections based on printer acceptable black make up...you could argue that we should find out in the first instance of what's acceptable...again we can't have designers working just for one print spec when at the time of creation the placement of print is unknown to the designer...it's a tricky situation

          Your thoughts would be appreciated,

          Nick.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rich Black vs Black

            Sorry, that should have been Thanks Happy Friday !

            Apologies.

            N.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rich Black vs Black

              If you're using print vendors around the world you should probably start building print specs based on what each printer requires: i.e rich black version, grips to apply. By the way, having worked at several printers over the years one of the bigger problems putting circa 280% ink coverage is set off not just drying time. You should also bear in mind if your job will require a varnish or other coating. This pushes the % covering up further. The only reason printers refuse is time, cost and control. They want you to get your job on time , at the agreed price and the quality you expect. If you give them crap artwork/ repro you'll end up with a sub-standard finishedjob.

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              • #8
                Re: Rich Black vs Black

                Thanks m0b33,

                Yeah, i can see what i need to do as their is no hard and fast rule on this...

                Gather specs, Max TAC, finish required, etc etc

                Or play safe - C+K ?...this is becoming more and more compelling due to what you have clearly identified as 'risk' area's...TAC, Finish, time, cost, control

                Thanks everyone,

                More comments welcome.

                N.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Rich Black vs Black

                  Hi Nick,
                  Sounds to me you already know what you want to do, play safe with C+K. It's perfectly acceptable in most places, but remember to ask yourself is your product sales driven by design or content? Who's in control of production, Art Dept or Production's budget?

                  We sent a vendor survey last year asking very specific software/hardware/prepress workflow questions to all CSRs. One question asked for their EXACT recommendation for 4C, 3C, 2C black specs. I hold them fully responsible for their answers... there shouldn't be any gray area or excuses after that. Surely there are other variables in creating delays of a finish product, color usage really shouldn't be one of them if you play your cards right.

                  BTW, sounds to me you are in book publishing too?

                  You bet, we'll repeat the survey with our vendors annually to keep them honest and not just to get more jobs from us.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Rich Black vs Black

                    > {quote:title=Tech wrote:}{quote}
                    > Hi Nick,
                    > Sounds to me you already know what you want to do, play safe with C+K. It's perfectly acceptable in most places, but remember to ask yourself is your product sales driven by design or content? Who's in control of production, Art Dept or Production's budget?

                    Who's in control ?...good question ! :>)

                    >
                    > We sent our a vendor survey last year asking very specific questions to all CSRs. One question asked for their EXACT recommendation for 4C, 3C, 2C black specs. I hold them fully responsible for their answers... there shouldn't be any gray area or excuses after that. Surely there are other variables in creating delays of a finish product, color usage really shouldn't be one of them if you play your cards right.

                    That's a good idea, i'll use that !
                    >
                    > You bet, we'll repeat the survey with our vendors annually to keep them honest and not just to get more jobs from us.

                    Good work, i'm following your lead !

                    Again thanks to all who replied

                    N.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Rich Black vs Black

                      I recommend a 30, 20, 20, 100. It's more neutral than a C+K build, gets nice and dark, and is only 170% TAC. Whenever you do a rich black just be sure to make the black channel solid. This allows auto trapping systems to generate a spreadback.

                      I'd love to know why the printer you cite refuses to allow a rich black.

                      Use of coating or varnish is not factored into TAC. It is factored into the price, which might what m0b33 was alluding to.

                      rich

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                      • #12
                        Re: Rich Black vs Black

                        Rich,

                        Thanks for the valuable rich black make up values.

                        Printers in Far East, reasons given were (now that i've found out !), registration, drying time...

                        I'm making a plan of action n ow to address not only our designers, but also our production staff...

                        Thanks All,

                        Nick.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Rich Black vs Black

                          When using QuarkXpress, all revers type that is over a Rich Black (CMYK) automatically pulls back the CMY in the Rich Black. This can say time in the prepress. This helps me a lot when setting up Solid Balck backgrounds.

                          Also, a Rich Black background helps to prevent "plugging" halftone dots when laying down that much black ink.

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