Combining Spot Colors with Transparency

Have you ever experienced problems when sending your files to your printer that included spot colors with transparency? Well, you’re not alone!

Using a spot or PMS color on a layout can often lead to unexpected results.

If your using InDesign or Illustrator and using only CMYK colors, you can use transparency without any problem.

The problems start when transparency overlaps spot or PMS colors.

Your file will look fine on screen, and often even when printed from a desktop printer,
but high-quality print will be compromised.

The file on the left shows supplied art using spot PMS transparency. The file on the right has been flattened and will not print properly.

Why is this happening? Before being flattened, transparency is considered live and exists as an optical effect onscreen.

Before the layered file can be printed it must be flattened. The transparent region is broken into non-transparent sections that are translated by the RIP (raster image processor) into a printable image.

The good news is, these problems can easily be resolved and prevented by simply converting the spot color to process in the native file and then re-exporting to pdf.

For more printing tips we’re here to help. Call Schneider Graphics 847-550-4310 or sales@schneidergraphics.