Color Reproduction for Printing

Commercial printing

There are four standard methods of commercial printing.

One-color method. This method uses one ink only. Usually the ink is black.

Two-color method. This method uses black ink and a second ink, PMS 208 (crimson). This second ink is also referred to as spot color.

Four-color process method. This method uses four standard inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, which combine on the printing press to create a full-color printed document. Tip: When preparing your document to be printed using the four-color process method, set the color in your files following the process color formula for the CMYK values in the NMSU Branding Color Palette. The palette specifies the settings you must use. Do not use your program default settings for the CMYK values.

Five-color method. Five-color printing uses the four-color process method, applying the four standard inks, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, to create a full color document, but adds a spot color PMS ink to accurately reproduce a specific color. For NMSU documents, PMS 208 ink is the spot color to use.

Tip: To prepare your files for this method, follow the four-color process as described above, but set your crimson to PMS 208.

Selecting paper stock

We recommend using coated stock white matte or white dull paper. These paper stocks most accurately reproduce NMSU crimson and the text is easy-to-read. Gloss paper can occasionally be used, depending on the project, but text is not as easy to read. Such projects include presentation folders and calendars. Uncoated paper may occasionally be used, again depending on the project, but be aware that uncoated paper soaks up more ink, yielding somewhat duller colors or colors of a different hue. Projects where uncoated paper might be used include contact cards and newsletters.

Best practice for printing and paper selection

For the best commercial printing results, print using 5-color (4-color plus PMS 208) on a coated matte or dull white paper stock. We recommend this method for documents intended for external audiences, especially for recruitment, recognition and prestige-building publications.

Desktop and network printing

For accurate color, set up your files following the four-color process method. Tip: When preparing your document to be printed using the four-color process method, set the color in your files following the process color formula for the CMYK values in the NMSU Branding Color Palette. The palette specifies the settings you must use. Do not use your program default settings for the CMYK values.

Set your margins according to your network or desktop printer’s guidelines, so that your copy and art stays within your printer’s “live area.” The printer will not reproduce any content outside this live area of the paper.
All documents set up in color will print in black and white on simple one-color desktop and network printers. The printer will convert all the colors to shades of black, or “grayscale.”

Tip: to adjust the shades of gray, adjust your document’s color values.