• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Book Cover Colour Printing Concern


Junior Member
Hello all,

My first post this, so be kind.

I've designed a book cover which is shortly going to print, however I have some concerns as to how to set up the final file.

The main image is a black lino print with large areas of black, which I've scanned at 600 dpi and will darken using Levels, Contrast, etc. in Photoshop.

The publishers will be getting it printed digitally (unfortunately), which means the type on the cover will be a simple 100% black (not a CMYK mix in case of any misregistration), but I'm concerned that the print, if printed the same way, will look slightly washed out. Therefore, instead of scanning it in greyscale, I'm trying to give it a richness by scanning in CMYK and tinkering with the levels until it's sufficiently darkened. However, when I sample the darkest area of colour, it comes shows a CMY heavy mix, such as C-75, M-68, Y-67, K-90.

So my question is,

Is this likely to cause problems?
If so, does anyone know how to alter my scan in Photoshop to give a nice rich black of say 30/30/20/100? I've tried making a selection and filling with this but sampling it again shows a different but heavy CMY mix.
Or am I missing another, simpler way to achieve this?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as, you've probably guessed, I have very little printing experience.

I've attached a lo res scan of the print and a pdf of the cover layout for reference.





Senior Member
Welcome Andy, I understand your problem but it seems strange to me that the design of a book is just a scanned image that already exists?!?

Ignoring that issue, why don't you recreate that image from scratch in photshop? You could fill the background with any black you like and then duplicate the curves over and over to get the desired effect?


Junior Member
Thanks for the reply Davewill. I do alot of Lino/Woodblock print work but this is the first design to be reproduced as a digital print. So it's an actual hand made print, rather than a computer generated one. I could probably save myself alot of time and effort and create a vector image, but it wouldn't be the same.

To put my problem more succinctly:

- Should I be concerned that the black of my type will be C-0, M-0, Y-0, K-100, but that my scanned image will be something like C-75, M-68, Y-67, K-90?
- Does anyone think this high mix will cause problems with a digital printer?
- Will the type and image two noticeably different colours?

And yes, I need to get in touch with the printer but the publisher doesn't seem to be too keen on me doing so. It took several emails to find out they were digital.



Senior Member
Fair enough Androlicus, I understand now why you cant recreate it. Im not expert on printing but I wouldnt have thought there would be a massive difference based on how your design looks. If the blacks overlapped each other then maybe, but there is a bit of space between the 2. Like I say, Im not expert though so hopefully others can clarify that.

There is an option in photoshop called 'Replace Colour' if you go through 'Image' at the top menu, and then select 'Adjustments'. Then using the colour picker you can select your current black and tell Photoshop you want that selection to be 0/0/0/100. I dont think its 100% accurate but its a pretty good option.
I would try the replace colour as well, otherwise just play with the levels etc to darken it. I wouldn't worry about the about of ink because as long as it is a solid colour, it will use the same amount of ink/ toner when printed digitally.

To be honest though, you probably wont notice the difference between the black text and that image as long as that image is dark enough!


Junior Member
Very much appreciate the advice chaps.

I'll try to replace the colour, as you both suggested, and see if I can reduce that high mix. But I feel slightly more relaxed about the matching of the blacks. I just didn't want it coming out a muddy black, for instance. It looks good on screen, but on paper it could be a different story.



Junior Member

So I've been playing around with replacing the colour to C-30, M-30, Y-20-K-100, but it didn't seem to alter much. It seemed to take some red out, which was good, but my colour picker was still getting some pretty high mixes. As you said, this will probably be ok, but thanks to your suggestions I tried another route...

- Adjusted the levels of my original scan as before to achieve a nice contrast
- Converted the image to greyscale
- Selected a colour range of 100% black with the Magic Wand tool, at maximum fuzziness, and saved this.
- Converted back to CMYK
- Opened the selection and filled with my desired rich black and...

...it seems, to my utter relief, to have worked. It seems a bit of a workaround, and I have to trust that the Magic Wand has selected the image in it's entirety. It looks the same on screen so I hope it is.

So, I'll either use this method or if you think a high CMYK black mix is ok, go with that. I'll see if I can get a proof from the printer to compare. At least I've got a couple of options.