Colors for Print: Matching and Separating
Designing something new for a customer, and they ask you to match the color(s) of an existing document? There is more to it than you might think.
Simply scanning the customer's original and attaching it to the order does not ensure that the resulting design will match the original. This is because color changes happen during the scanning and printing process
- Open either MS Word or Publisher and draw a box on the page (Insert > Shapes).
- Now go to Drawing Tools > Shape Fill and choose More Fill Colors. This will bring up the color chart. Find a color that's an approximate match. Let's say the color you're trying to match is closest to color 21 (a blue), but it's not quite right.
- If you click on the custom tab, you'll be able to see the color values.
- The RGB color values for color 21 are 0R/102G/255B. By adjusting these values, you can create a variety of different colors and make specific adjustments to get closer to the one you want to match.
An important thing to keep in mind is if the original color was printed on an offset press, it may not be possible to match it exactly, but using this method will get you as close as possible. Once you arrive at a color you want, just give us the color values and we'll use them in the design.
You may run across a third party printer that asks for color-separated artwork for a print job. What is color separation, you ask? Read on . . .
Simply put, color separation is used to make plates for offset printing. Each printed color requires a separate plate, but colors can also be derived by combining colors from different plates. In four-color process printing, four separate plates are used: cyan, magenta, yellow and black—CMYK (K is used to denote black).