Ink darker/richer than expected


Most probably a beginners question, but…

Been just recently starting out to actually mix colors not only by eye, but using the Pantone chart as well and have been noticing that most inks are a lot richer and 2-3 shades darker than in the chart.

Been noticing with Yellow, Process Blue (which comes out a lot darker) and Rhodamine Red (which is often basically described as the richer, deeper, vibrant cousin of Magenta).

Is that simply related to over-inking on our part as offset lays down just a very thin film of ink?

As always, appreciate your input!



Log in to reply   4 replies so far

Yes, the charts were developed for offset litho. You can run close to the same ink thickness, but most generally, the ink film layed down by letterpress is heavier, and the mixes need to be altered with transparent white to come closer to the swatch values.

Don’t forget the stock you are printing on will affect your colour. If you are using a coated stock pantone book and you are printing on uncoated stock it will need more ink to get coverage so will end up darker.

Perfect, thank you both!

Further to the comments above sometimes I’ll mix the colour one up from the desired one (assuming it’s using the same base inks) and then make adjustments to the colour by eye and by testing it on final paper stock to be used to get the desired colour.

Also it’s easier to under ink your forme (even if you go over it twice with the rollers before printing) then to try and clean it all off. You might also find your letter forms are much thicker as the shoulder of the typeface itself will also be getting inked and printed.

Lastly if you are wanting to make an opaque ink it’s best to add the opaque white while you are still mixing the overall colour as it will change drastically if you do it after you’ve mixed the perfect colour. This can help on coloured stocks when some colours will look really dull and you’ll use less ink.

Hope that makes sense and is at all helpful.