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Orange & Purple vs. Printing. Why so difficult?

Orange and purple are somewhat difficult to print.

When printing a job you will either be told about the two hardest colours to colour match to or experience it yourself.

When I started printing I was told about the two colours being the hardest to match in print because the colours have specified contrasts that being slightly off can be very noticeable. The orange turns into a redder orange or a greener orange or a slightly darker orange or completely off. The same thing can be said about the colour purple. That it could look too dark, too blue, too red or yellowish. Is it just these colours that are difficult to print or is it something else? My answer is a bit of both. Everyone has colours that are notorious to them when printing but they are not impossible to print at the end of the day.

Orange and purple can vary in contrast depending on the cool hues or warm hues used in the design. If the orange colour in a design is a cool-hued orange and the purple is a warm-hued purple it’s going to be difficult because cool-hued colours use cyan more and warm-hued colours use more magenta which creates different problems when recreating a colour that’s not 100% blue or 100% red. Finding the right mix of colours for a hue that’s irritating can have their eureka moments.

Method one: Calibrate and always choose colours strategically. Not only it makes the colours look better paired up it with a little more thought about how it’s going to look at the end but it helps to avoids problems like this.

Calibration usually fixes most problems. It makes sure that what you are printing reflects what is on screen. The computer screen will show colours differently than a print because of how colours react to light and how we see colours. The differences between RGB and CMYK cannot be the only reason why colours can’t match. Calibrate on the paper intended to be used for a job to get closer to the colours wanted.

Method two: Change the colour manually to match the colour. This is the more of a trial test method to fix one or more colours in a design.

This is where converting text to a vector (computer shape) comes in handy. Files are copied and converted to CMYK graphic files then expanded to be outlined shapes. Select a shape and play with the CYMK values.

This makes sure that the colour will be close to what the colour is supposed to be. The CMYK values can be manipulated by sliding the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow or black is needed to make it closer to the colour wanted. With a lot of tries and a CMYK conversion book handy, matching a colour is no big deal it’s easy but should be done sparingly.

Image by Under The Moonlight
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