Design For Print
- CMYK is used for commercial print
- The inks are transparent, so when one ink prints on top of the other it produces another colour
- The first ink to be applied would be cyan or yellow
- When we have various tints of each colour we can produce another colour
- Theoretically we should be able to make all colours from cyan magenta and yellow
- Black is the key colour because it will key together CMY to strengthen the shadows
When setting up a new document in Illustrator the default is CMYK because initially it was set up for commercial print.
There are various ways of choosing colours on Illustrator. All of these options are illustrated below. We are going to focus on using the swatch palette.
Below is the swatch palette which gives us specific colours, and more specifically if we have a specific colour in our swatch palette we can apply consistency to a design as the colour will remain there. It is an easier way of applying colour to our design without having to use the pick up tool all of the time.
To create our own swatch panel we must delete the existing swatches. We are usually left with a couple. This isn't necessary to do but it is good practice to do this because then you are only working with the colours that you need.
By changing to a small list view we can then view all of the swatches more clearly. It gives us some information about the type of colour as opposed to having a small thumbnail. The registration marks is used during the printing process specifically for the printer's marks. It looks like black but it isn't and should only be used as marks.
If we opt to have a new swatch at the bottom we can then use the CMYK bars to create our own colours. The default again will be CMYK. Always confirm that the colours you are creating are CMYK colours. Once you have mixed your inks you can click OK. This will then be added to the swatches on the right hand side.
You can also do it this way too and add a new swatch.
The colour picker tool can also be used. When using this tool it will then appear in the colour palette and then choose create new swatch. Once you have a swatch in the swatch palette it is very easy to use the swatches to apply it to your work.
Using the dropper tool we can select one colour and add it to the swatch panel at the side.
If you had a selection of colours you are working with then you can select them all and add them all to the swatches. The difference with these swatches and the ones we created earlier with the CMYK is that they have little triangles in the corner and there is also a small grey square next to each swatch.
If we double click on a swatch made out of CMYK we get this...
Whereas if we click on one of the others this is what we get. The difference being that the global option is selected. With the global swatch if we double click and click preview, then we can see the changes. This is what it means if it is a global swatch. If we use these global swatches we can make variations very easily, as everything will update and we don't have to worry about selecting things on the page. You can make any swatch global by selecting global on any swatch.
When I select a global swatch and open my colour palette I only have one slider which is T. This is a tint of a CMYK colour. If I am working with a limited colour palette working with tints allows me a little more variation. Can work with 100% of that colour or 50% of that colour.
The highlighted example below is my tint swatch which shows the percentage next to it. This is a really helpful way of maintaining consistency within my work by having all of my tints saved ready to use again.
If I edit my original swatch then this will automatically edit the other tints as well. I am therefore able to use this tool consistently when designing on Illustrator.
Working with spot colours
- The name 'processed colours' refers to CMYK and the 4 plate printing process, whereas a spot colour is a pre mixed ink so the colour is not created by combining CMYK.
- Using spot colours is a cheaper production method
- Spot colour only requires one printing plate
- Metallic inks would be applied as a ready made spot colour
- To get an exclusive colour representing a brand - For example Sainsbury's logo is always the orange colour, this is achieved by using a spot colour which gives us consistency
- Using the pantone booklets we can view all of the spot colours
- Each one has a unique reference number which we use when designing
How do we apply those within our Illustrator file?
This is how we use spot colours on Illustrator...
Once again we need to view it in the same way as our palette to make it easier to view the information.
Using the search bar we can find our swatch colour. Once we have found this colour we then need to add it to our library by simply clicking once on it then it will appear in our palette. When using swatch colours do not change the name. Once we have chosen our colour we can close this menu and apply it in the same way.
Because it is a global colour we can also use tints again. This will increase the tonal range and only one ink will still be used. Allowing some versatility. Again, they are global colours but we wouldn't really want to change them in this case as we want to retain the reference number.
Once you have set up your swatch palette if we create a new Illustrator document, every Illustrator document has a set of swatches. However it could be that I set up a swatch palette that I could need to use on another document. Repetitive work for one client - Therefore it would be useful to transfer the swatch palette to a new document or Photoshop or InDesign.
This is a good way to save a swatch as the location will allow us to access the swatch.
We then need to save it as something significant.
Then if we open a new Illustrator document and follow the directions below then it will open our swatch palette.
This is how we save the swatch to use on other programmes.
When we open this in another file we won't get our tints. However to recreate the tints isn't that much work. This file can now be opened successfully and used on Photoshop and InDesign.
If we therefore open Photoshop and load swatches, we simply select the swatches and they will be there ready to use.
I have found this session extremely beneficial and interesting as I was totally unaware of how to use the same swatch panel across different programmes. This will help me immensely when I create a document and design digitally, as I had previously struggled and copied and pasted images over to other programmes in order to pick up the colours using the pick up tool.