Why are there so many different colors of black and when should I use them?  Most commonly in printing and design you will see Black, Rich Black and Registration Black.  Let’s break down these 3 colors and when to use them.

Black. This is 100% Black with no other colors added.  Most commonly used as text, small areas of solid black or areas where misregistration could cause problems, like solid bars or lines.  If printing large areas of solid black you will want to use Rich Black (see below).  It is also a good practice to use tints of black when producing gray text, line or color boxes rather than using a 4-color build.

Rich Black is a mix of the four CMYK colors to produce a nice deep black color. It is used for areas of large black coverage or areas where you want a nice rich looking black. Black ink alone can look washed out when printed in a large area.  It is important not to use Rich Black for type, lines etc. because you are using and aligning all 4 colors, the slightest bit of misalignment will show clearly in your finished product.  You will see various formulas for Rich Black, but we like to use 60% Cyan, 20% Magenta, 20%Yellow and 100% black.

Registration Black is defined as 100% of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.   This means when printed, 100% of each color will be applied to the sheet.  This color places too much ink on the sheet and would take a very long time to dry.

This is important! This color was intended to be used only for crop marks and registration marks.   At Julin Printing, we would prefer you not use this color at all (never ever) and send files without crop or registration marks as our software will do that! This color is used to print marks on the plates and press sheets, giving the ability to keep the plates aligned as they run through the press. Thus, producing correct dot pattern and ultimately color.   Again, our software adds this to our printing places, so it is not necessary for you to do so.

Contact your Julin Printing representative if you have questions on the usage of the various black colors or you can consult with our Prepress department directly!