What if I want to print with more than 4 colors?

Updated 4 months ago by eunice.bautista@4over4.com

In the real world, this doesn't happen often.

Like all other full-color printers, we print CMYK, also known as 4-color process. That is where the 4 colors come from.

CMYK: stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

  • C = Cyan
  • M = Magenta
  • Y = Yellow
  • K = Black

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlacK are the primary colors for print where various combinations of those 4 colors create a broad and wide spectrum of all colors we see in everyday life.

While you may see 7 or 8 colors in the rainbow below, the four CMYK colors combine in various percentages to print all those colors.

So why ever the need to print more then 4 Colors?

Sometimes clients want to print full color images but also want to print colors that are not able to be produced with CMYK, such as Metallics, Neons or Pastels. These are some of what are known as Pantone or PMS colors. There is no CMYK equivalent that can produce a true metallic gold or a Fluorescent Neon Pink. Also, there are also some other PMS colors where there is a CMYK equivalent, but the CMYK version is simply not close enough for the customer's needs.

While many PMS colors convert nicely to their CMYK equivalents, this IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.

See an example of this below with PMS 1585 shown on the left, and the closest CMYK equivalent on the right.

So if a customer absolutely needed to prink CMYK images but also had some copy or text that needed to print in PMS 1585, then that would be considered a 5-color job. Along the same lines, if a customer had CMYK images but also wanted to have elements print in both PMS Metallic Gold and PMS Metallic Silver, then that would be be considered a 6-color job. At 4OVER4.COM, we have done up to 8-color jobs.

If you have a 5-color or 6-color job, this is treated as a custom project and you would need to contact our Support Team to assist in pricing and placing this order. Please make sure to provide as much information as possible for us to be able to get back to you quickly with a detailed response and with pricing if it can be done.


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