Reading Colour Charts
Some colours are more challenging to reproduce than others. The charts below contain a series of CMYK colours considered reliable for offset printing.
While we cannot offer exact colour matching, we can recommend these options for your designs. Using these charts will help you achieve greater consistency and accuracy in colour reproduction.
We displayed a base colour on the left of each row. As you progress to the right, the colour values gradually decrease. The rows lower in each chart shows secondary colours.
Please note your monitor settings may affect what you see on your screen compared to your physical prints. The settings on inkjet or laser printers may also produce varying results. If you must have precise colours, we recommend purchasing a single copy so you can see how your finished print could look.
NOTE: This applies to every CMYK colour. Be careful when using black to make the colours darker. It can easily make your colours appear muddy.
We make Standard black (the K in CMYK) from shades of grey. How intense the black colour looks in print is based on density, on a scale of 1 to 100.
Rich black is created by blending all the CMYK colours, resulting in a richer, more saturated tone. Do not over-saturate the paper by setting all colours to 100 maximum.
Standard and Rich Black
Red can often appear orange or rusty when printing. When this happens, you need to look at your levels of magenta and yellow. If your red looks too pinkish, you have mixed in too much magenta. But if you see a more orange tinge, the yellow colour value is too high.
CMYK Oranges and Browns
Creating a vibrant, bright orange is easy: combine two parts yellow and one part magenta (0-50-100-0).
Changing the colour balance will produce mossy greens, a rich rust colour, or earthy browns.
CMYK Yellows and Greens
Cyan and yellow will produce a green colour. Set the values to equal parts and make them dense for vibrant results. As for yellow, be careful when making it darker. It can become easily more of a sage or mustard colour. For a much denser mixture, it can become more orange or green.
In CMYK, blue is one of the most challenging colours to reproduce accurately. We suggest you use even and balanced mixtures, like 100-50-0-0. Otherwise, the result will be a purple or green colour.
Regal purple tones are CMYK-friendly. A 3:2 magenta-to-cyan ratio is an excellent place to start (79-100-0-0).
Pinks in CMYK printing are all about the magenta. For stand-out pink colours - the magenta levels should be high, and the yellow, cyan, and black low. If you add too much yellow, you will get more red hues, but with too much cyan, it will turn purple.
We cannot provide a realistic metallic gold finish in CMYK printing, but we can produce a flat or NMM (non-metallic metal) representation of gold. See right for some examples.
Similar to CMYK golds, you cannot also obtain a metallic silver finish in CMYK printing. Flat or NMM (non-metallic metal) colours are possible, and you can use a metallic Pantone spot ink for your design or foiling.
CMYK Bright Colours
Want your colours to pop off the page? Although CMYK can never quite reach the backlit brilliance of RGB colours, the colour combinations below will ensure the most vivid results for your printed products.