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From Design Into Print: Preparing Graphics and Text for Professional Printing by Sandee Cohen

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Chapter 10. Spot Colors and Duotones

The previous chapter was all about process colors, the four transparent inks that combine to make full-color images on paper. Process color printing is expensive, and most projects either can’t afford it or don’t really need it. But what if you want some color on the page? That’s when you use a spot color, just an ink or two applied to text or graphics that adds bright spots to your page.

Spot colors are one of the most misunderstood aspects of printing. Part of the problem is that many designers, print shops, and software companies use a variety of terms to describe spot colors: specialty, Pantone, custom, flat, solid, second color, and fifth or sixth colors are just some of the terms used to describe the technique. ...

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