Vantablack / Black 3.0 and the blackest ink


Active member
Hello, I've noticed this topic seems largely uncovered (internet searches simply find double-hits & rich blacks), so decided to post it here. All thoughts welcome!

In the past 5 or so years there's continual news about the quest for the blackest black - whether artist's paints absorbing 98% visible light (acrylic, solvent or oil based; eg Black 3.0 or NanoLab) or the lab-grown nano-forest (Vantablack) which doesn't count as paint.

I never hear of any of these advances impacting printing though, and whether blacks here are getting blacker.


Well-known member
AFAIK no. Because process inks are semi transparent. You might be able to get a specialty black that is more opaque from an ink supplier or specialty ink vendor for special application though.


Well-known member
Am I remembering correctly that the blackest black in printing was to print solid black on solid cyan?


Active member
If using process inks, yes, cyan will 'perceptually' create a darker black. A lot of publishers request that a publication using 4/4 on coated paper uses C40 K100 for the text.

I've seen a lot of different formulas though for blacks. Some of them are covered here:

Quite a few are also demonstrated in Andy Brown's The Print Handbook. His example of a double hit of black (K+Pantone Black C) is more black than the other process combinations.

Unfortunately it's not the same though as have an ultra black or opaque black printing ink. The advantage would be in avoiding extra plates/press passes and possible misregistration or loss of crisp edges, and ink density limits - especially restrictive on uncoated paper.

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