Choose Your Color Model Early

Before you spend a lot of time designing your publication, decide whether you want to print your publication in color. If you print your publication to a high-quality digital color printer, you don’t need to worry about color. Digital color printers accurately reproduce millions of colors. If you plan to print your publication on an offset printing press, you have several color-model options.

Offset printing requires that a professional press operator set up and run the print job. Generally, every ink that is needed to print the publication requires more setup for the operator and increases the cost. The number of inks that you need depends on the color model that you choose.

When you set up color printing for your publication, you can choose from the following color models:

  • Any color (RGB)
  • Single color
  • Spot colors
  • Process colors
  • Process plus spot colors

Any color (RGB)

If you print by using a digital color printer (such as a color desktop printer), you use the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color model. When you print a few copies, this is the least expensive color model to print. RGB colors have the highest degree of variability of any color model, however, which makes it difficult to match colors between print jobs.

Single color

If you print by using one color, everything in your publication is printed as a tint of a single ink, which is usually black. This is the least expensive color model to print on an offset press because it requires only one ink.

Spot colors

If you print by using a spot color, everything in your publication is printed as a tint of a single ink — usually black — and a tint of one additional color, the spot color, which is usually used as an accent. Publisher uses PANTONE® colors for spot color jobs.

This color model requires a minimum of two inks and can increase the cost of printing on an offset press with each ink that you add.

NOTE: In some cases, printing spot colors may be more expensive than using process colors. This is commonly the case for short-run jobs.

Process colors

If you use this color model, your publication is printed in full color by combining varying percentages of the process-color inks cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which are typically shortened to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key). Although you can combine these four inks to get almost a full range of colors, you can’t get some colors. For example, the CMYK color model can’t produce metallic colors or colors that are highly saturated.

Process-color printing always requires setting up the press with the four CMYK inks. It also requires skill on the part of the press operator to line up the impression of one ink with the others, which is called registration. These requirements make process-color printing more expensive than spot-color printing.

Process plus spot colors

This color model is the most expensive to print because it combines process-color printing (four inks) with one or more spot-color inks. You use this color model only if you want both full color plus a highly saturated or metallic color that can’t be produced by using CMYK.

Choose a color model

When you choose a color model in Microsoft Office Publisher, the Color Picker displays only those colors that are available in the color model that you choose. For example, if you set your color model to Single Color, you can choose only line, fill, and text colors that you can make with that single ink color. If you set the color model to Spot Colors, you can choose only line, fill, and text colors that can be made by using your spot color inks.

To choose the color model for your publication, do the following:

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Commercial Printing Tools, and then click Color Printing.
  2. In the Color Printing dialog box, under Define all colors as, click the color model that you want to use.

    Color Printing dialg box

  3. If you choose either Spot colors or Process colors plus spot colors, you can click the New Ink button to choose additional spot color inks.
  4. Click OK.

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