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Need some advice regarding printing...


Junior Member

I'm about to send off my first designs to be printed within the next few days and I was wondering if some of you with experience in this area could give me a few tips to make sure what I see on the screen comes out the same once printed!

I was also wondering if someone could explain to me how I can check the colour saturation in Photoshop? I've read that the colour saturation should be at least 15% and shouldn't exceed 240%.

Thanks in advance! :up:
Hi Mr.81,

Welcome to Design Forums! You're more than welcome to start a thread in the Introduction section and tell us a bit more about yourself. :)

Regarding your question. Can you provide a bit more information on what exactly you're looking to print? My knowledge of print is somewhat limited, but for starters you should be working in CMYK and 300dpi. Also make sure you check with your printer what dimensions they require you to submit your artwork in. And sometimes you'll need to include bleed and so on.

I'm sure someone else here can give you a lot more info on the subject than I can, as I mostly work with Web.

Hope that helps!



Junior Member
Hi Soren!

Thanks for the reply - oh right, I'll make a post there later :).

Yeah, I've followed the printers instructions and set up the page to CMYK, 300dpi, bleeds etc - I just am unsure about the whole saturation thing! I'm thinking of paying the printers for a "check" service the first time I send everything to print, but still, I'd like to learn how to do everything properly from the get go.


Senior Member
The first problem you will have in the print vs screen equation is the calibration of your screen and the colours you have used.

Some questions for you to check and then it should make more sense...

1. Are you colours Pantone value or Hex coding?

2. Do you have a Pantone book?

3. Did any of that make sense?


Senior Member
Make sure your using CMYK colours in your work is the first thing.

The saturation is just if you've used certain dark colours it can make things a bit difficult for printers, for example if you use the "Black" on InDesign and get it printed its never a nice dark black, more of a washed out look.
So most people use a mix of CMYK to make it dark, for example at work we use C:40 M:20 Y:20 K:100 which gives a richer black.
Over 240% is incase you have a black thats made up of say 90/90/90/100 or something, it makes the ink really thick and harder to dry, which isn't good for multiple runs of pieces.

If you haven't used lots of dark colours using high values in all of CMYK then you should be fine. If in doubt then ask them for a proof, might cost a little bit but its better to spot them early than to find out once its all printed!

*edit* just check your on about colours right? just re-read and saw you said saturation. Your sending it for litho print yeah?


Junior Member
mrp2049 - Sorry that didn't make any sense =/ if you could explain I would be grateful. Thanks.

Kudosis - Yeah, I've read about the thing about the dark black; the main thing I was worried about was the minimum of 15% - does that mean some light colours won't print properly? And yes, it's litho printing :).


Senior Member
Please don't get offended if I explain this in idiot proof terms, I don't want to offend, I just don't have any idea how much you know...

If you are using photoshop (safe guess really), when you are selecting colours, you have the colour picker (hex values like FFFFFF or 000000 etc there are millions of them)....


right if you have used the , then you might have a problem, the colours on this are really intended for web values (and they aren't guaranteed in that format, but that is something else), what you need to do is click on the colour libraries part, this will take you into the pantone menu. (pantones...obvs, not so many of them)


Learn about pantones, it will help you no end.

Now, you can use the colour picker and the colour library hand in hand to get the sort of colour you want, but it is better to use the pantone value as a rule.

If you have lots of colours, then it is best to focus on getting any block colour areas you can, using pantones as they are a printers friend.

The main reason you want to think in terms of pantones is they are the same in more or less every context, and you can get a pantone book

Like this, but hunt around, they can be way cheaper...

Then you can use the colour you want on screen, and check back and forth between the pantone book and the pantone value you have on screen, this is one of the problems, screens dont match print exactly (agreed everyone?), so having a hard copy reference can be a life saver.

A lot of this depends on the printer, but it is one of those things that is important to know.

Screen to print colour? Now that is always difficult, there are devices that are supposed to make them match, but they are £50+, best to try and get some idea of colour values through printing (accidents in some cases) and then work from there. Once you get to know how some of the pantone values in print, you will be alot more confident about colour choice.

Make more sense?
Don't mean to be rude but forget the above on pantone colours, it's just going to confuse matters and I doubt very much you will using them. If your working in CMYK, 300dpi and don't have any dark cplours that make the total CMYK value is more than 200% coverage you won't have an issue. I don't really understand what you mean by less than 15% saturation not an issue I have ever had. Perhaps you can upload a small jpeg of what your getting printed as from this we'll be able to tell if your likely to have any issues?
Sorry, just read that over and it reads like I'm drunk. I'm not by the way, just been a long day, amended version, in English:

Don't mean to be rude but forget the above on pantone colours, it's just going to confuse matters and I doubt very much you will using them. If your working in CMYK, 300dpi and don't have any dark colours that make the total CMYK value more than around 200% coverage you won't have an issue (IE C+M+Y+K values total less than about 200). I don't really understand what you mean by less than 15% saturation, it's not an issue I have ever had. Perhaps you can upload a small jpeg of what you're getting printed as from this we'll be able to tell if your likely to have any issues?
if i were to go and buy a pantone guide(s)
i assume there is coated and uncoated, whats the difference between the two and how many other guides are there that i would also need to get to be "ok"


Active Member
I believe I'm right in saying the difference between coated and uncoated is that coated is literally just laminated - so shows you how the pantone colour will look when matt/gloss laminated.

Pantone colours are predominantly used for logo colours to match the logo/brand colours consistently across different projects/printers/applications.


Junior Member
Thanks for the replies!

The pantone thing is new to me - I assumed that as long as the colour wasn't "out of gamut" it would be okay? Thanks for explaining it though.

RussellHall - ah good idea; once I'm done with the design, I'll upload it :). Thanks!


Senior Member
Woah hold up! Why are we talking about Spot Colours / Pantone!!!! ??? Thats an extra cost on the press - so work in CMYK. (Litho right).

Forget buying the books for now - they aint cheap!

To the guy who mentioned that Hex Colours are used only for web - yes they are used in coding, but Photoshop shows a value for CMYK, RGB and HEX, LAB and other crap. They're all equivalent values so if you have 100% Magenta and 100% Yellow, Photoshop will throw you a Hex Code just incase you want it.

I personally wouldnt worry about the ink saturation either - although I dont know what kind of print job you're working on. If you need to, there are many ways to adjust. Open up the info panel and hover over areas that may cause problems and it will tell you the % of each ink. You can adjust using the Shadow/Highlights or by adjusting your CMYK profile.

I think you just need to ask the printers what mixture to use for said rich black.

Hope this helps.


Junior Member
jHouse - thanks for your post! Yeah, I saw that percentages thing in PhotoShop...so basically if all the percentages amount to more than 240% that's when I might start having trouble?


Active Member
Always find a good printer, discuss the job with them, raise concerns over the ink coverage especially black backgrounds. If you're honest and upfont with them about your experience, they will help you out. They have the knowledge, use it.


1. A job going to print, unless specced up and set up for print correctly, could result in designers carrying the cost for botched job. Printers will pas the buck back to you unless you get them involved early. What you see is not necc what you get in print terms.

2. While forum members advice is given free and with best genuine helpful intentions, it is important to note that some members have key working experience in certain fields ( no disrespect to anyone). Decisions and advice, that has a cost implication and should be well considered by both parties as this can have a severe effect if something goes belly up.

3. We are all on DF for advice, help, guidance etc and because we feel we have something to say, add or want or to contribute for others. But remember we are all not Gods or perfect or always right, ultimately you have to make the final decision, based on input and contribution.


Junior Member
Hi Berry, thanks for your points.

Yeah, ultimately I'm going to pay for a check service with the printers as it's the first time I'm sending work to be printed.