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Real World Print Production with Adobe Creative Suite Applications by Claudia McCue

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Approximating Spot Colors with Process

It’s a widespread practice to pick colors from a swatchbook such as the Pantone Color Formula Guide, even for jobs that are intended to print as process. Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s right. (Sorry; that sounds like your mother.)

The problem with this approach (as with so many things your mother warned you about), is that it can lead to disappointment. Remember that the purpose of spot colors is to render colors that fall outside the range of CMYK. Understandably, process approximations of spot colors are often unsatisfactory.

For example, a CMYK translation of a dark blue such as Pantone 286 can become a purplish blue. It’s unfortunate, but this is as close as a combination of cyan, magenta, ...

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