Book Cover Colour Printing Concern


New Member
Hello all,

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

The main image is a black lino print with large areas of black, which I've scanned at 600 dpi and have darkened 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 questions are,

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 way to achieve this?

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


Digital print black tends not to be as 'washed out' as litho black can be and there can be problems with rich black on digital - but it depends on what machine and type of digital print.

Are you doing the layout for the cover all in Photoshop? Or are you doing the layout in Indesign and pulling in the image/s? (Preferable) Depending on the image/s - can you save as a bitmap tiff and then colour up in Indesign to a rich black?

Ask the printer for a test print if you are worried.
Thanks for the reply and advice Katedesign.

My plan is to place the scanned/darkened Lino print as a tiff into Indesign, add the type, and export as a print ready pdf.

I'll see if I can get that test print. I seem to be having some difficulty in getting in contact with them through the publisher though. It took many emails just to find out they wouldn't print spot colours. Perhaps I'll try and be a bit more insistent.

I'll also try the bitmap tiff route and colour it as you suggested. I've not tried this before, but as I seem to be doing more lino/woodblock work, it'll be useful to explore. If there's any useful tips on doing this in relation to my design, I'd be keen on hearing them.

Thank you.
I've just been playing around with saving the the Lino print as a bitmap tiff (diffusion dither at 600dpi) as Katedesign suggested and was able to change it to a nice rich black (C-30, M-30-Y-20-K-100). A nice trick and so far so good, but when printing this on my personal printer (yes, not a professional printer I know) the shapes seem to be sharper, almost jagged/pixelated. Is it just my eyes, my printer or should I expect this? On screen it looks fine.
Colouring a Tiff in Illustrator/Photoshop

Does anyone know if I can colour a Tiff by simply saving it from a Photoshop file and placing it in Indesign or Illustrator and using the colour palette to change the CMYK values? This may have been what Katedesign was alluding to, but then I was only aware of using the Bitmap options in Photoshop where you have to choose between Diffusion Dither/50% Threshold/etc. which seemed to mess with the image to much. That is until I stumbled across the following steps which seem to work:

Convert the art to a bitmap (in photoshop)
Place the art in Illustrator
Embed the image
change its colour as you please with the colour palette.

Is it ok to do this and will the values be exported successfully to my print ready pdf file?