Expanding Gamut and Improving Spot Colors with 5th Color Toner Blending
In the past decade, digital color printing technology has improved drastically on many fronts, not the least of which is the rise of five-color print, powered in part by the introduction of high-quality, affordable five-color presses that bring more print providers into the five-color fold. Today, OEMs offer a wide variety of fifth-color options, including white, clear, neon, and invisible red. These colors are seeing widespread adoption for a variety of uses, but the toner colors available are just the beginning.
Through a little experimentation and planning, you can expand your color gamut for any number of striking, unique effects and spot color matching that will keep brands coming back for more. Some tips:
1. Experiment with different blends. Many design software options include features that allow trying out different colors electronically without running through test prints. Punch in the percentages that go into your color composition, adjust accordingly, and see the results. Don’t forget to account for different substrates’ colors and properties, which will affect the final output.
2. Document findings. An experiment is just messing around until you write it down. Track your results as you explore the possibilities, accounting for toner composition and substrate type, among other attributes. Creating a swatch book of particularly exciting — or particularly customer-relevant — colors, how to create them, and how they appear on different substrates will transform this sudden, vast expansion of your color capabilities into an orderly, useful library of repeatable color effects your design team can draw on repeatedly. These swatch books can also work as excellent selling tools.
3. Set goals for your experiments, and work toward them. When creating a new toner blend, what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to print a purple to match a customer’s logo? How will the substrate change the way the color presents? By taking these aspects into consideration ahead of time, your first pass will be closer to the mark, and fine tuning will be significantly simpler. Know where your goalposts are, and keep an eye on them as you work.
4. Sell your new capabilities — and know whom to sell to! Virtually all color print could benefit from an expanded color gamut. But think about the types of clients who could benefit most from these expanded capabilities, or the ones who may see them as a difference-maker to secure their business with your print shop: restaurants want food to look real and alluring; fashion, beauty, and retail businesses live and die by pops of color that turn heads; established brands with unique colors want to drive home how they stand out.
When you compare CMYK color next to a blend for tones — especially in the orange, purple, and pink ranges — there’s no question about the power of five-color printing. Blending is easier than many realize, and it’s a great way to deliver vibrant color that helps your business — and your clients’ businesses — stand out.