MorningPrint Hint: Rich Black vs K100

Happy Friday! Hope everyone out there in cyber land has had a fantastic week and is getting ready for their weekend. Before we kick of the weekend here at MorningPrint we wanted to talk about a printing tip. If you are new to MorningPrint or just learning about printing, you may or may not know that MorningPrint is a CMYK offset gang printing service. What that means is cmyk_by_Satansgoaliewe use varying percentages of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black) to create all the values you see in your design file.

For example 100% Cyan and 100% Yellow make green. Now imagine using differentScreen Shot 2015-02-06 at 1.24.32 PM percentages of C, M, Y & K to create colors. The possibilities are endless. Keep in mind that the less Values and percentages you use the purer the color will appear. Using to many values and high percentages can cause high ink density. There will be too much ink on the paper and that will not be pretty also the more values you mix the more muddled the final color will become.

We wanted to focus specifically on the color black. Black is black right? Wrong! Black can be created one of two ways. The first way is just by using pure K value (K100). Because using the K value is just pure black, even K100 printed as a wide background may look just like a dark grey and not as dark or saturated as you intended. However for small text (smaller than 36pt) and lines this is not a problem. It is recommended for black text that you use K100, and you will see below why you would not want to use rich black for text.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 1.32.33 PM

color compareThe second way is by using a high K percentage as well as percentages of C,M, & Y. This is called “Rich Black” which often yields a darker and richer black than a K value alone.

Because CMYK offset gang printing uses 4 primary color inks that overlay each other to create the full color spectrum the registration of the 4 color inks can shift during the printing process, If you use all 4 CMYK percentages to create rich black, they will not line-up precisely. So we never recommend rich black for small text because this can cause the text to look blurry or fuzzy. K100 would be great for black text smaller than 36pt as there is no need to overly the other colors so a fuzzy or blurry effect will never happen with it. However for background areas rich black is great for getting a nice dark black color. Do keep in mind that screen view will differ from the final product and each stock you print on will absorb the colors in a different way. If you are using the automatically generated rich black in Photoshop which isC=75 M=68 Y=67 K=89 it will be too much ink and the print result will not look great.


Large, solid black areas and text over 36 point should use Rich Black to prevent the color from looking gray. Rich Black consists of 40% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 30% Yellow, 100% Black. For smaller text, we recommend using 100% Black only.

Now every printer and stock will have it’s own recommended rich black value so it is best for you to do a little research prior to designing and to find out what is the recommended value for the specific stock you are ordering. Feel free to contact us at to get more information or to find out more detailed specifications. You can also request a sample kit to check out the stocks prior to placing your order to get an idea how the stocks may absorb the color.

So now that you know a little bit more about CMYK printing, what will you print?

Well that will do it for now, but until next time…. Print responsibly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s