4- Color Process vs. PMS Coloring – What is the difference?
Some of the most common questions when creating packaging is about the printing and artwork design. What artwork are you looking to get printed? How many colors is the artwork? How intricate is the design? Will there be multiple versions? These questions are asked to help determine which approach to color will be the best fit to create your design. Two of the most common approaches to create colors are 4-Color Process and PMS Colors. In this article, we explain more in depth about how color is achieved with these two systems.
What is 4-Color Process?
4- Color Process printing, also known as CMYK printing, uses four base colors of ink to create a virtually infinite spectrum of colors. The four colors are: cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. To create a specific color of your choice, a percentage of each of these four colors are mixed together. This can get a nearly identical match to whichever color you are trying to achieve, however there is some chance of color variance throughout a printing run when using this method. Most of the time, you would not be able to tell any difference in the colors, but you should keep this in mind if you are looking for an exact color match on every piece. If you look closely at the finished product, you can see tiny dots of ink where each of the colors were added to create that specific color. 4CP is one of the most common forms of printing today, and great for full color printing like magazines, photographs, books, and much more.
What is PMS?
PMS colors, also known as Pantone Matching System colors or Spot colors, are industry standard color formulas. The colors are already premixed and formulated. Each color is given a universal reference number. Having consistent colors that all printers can reference makes it easier to duplicate an exact color. Unlike 4-Color Process printing, the PMS printing method will always remain 100% consistent across the production run. Using a PMS color is a wise decision if you are looking to create a specific color theme. For example, many companies and brands choose to use PMS colors for their logos because they understand the importance of consistent brands across different mediums. While you could try and use 4-Color Process to achieve the color, it will be much easier and more consistent to choose a PMS color so you know it will be the exact same color each time you print.
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