Printing light gray: which is better CMYK tints or spot tints?


I'm printing some banners and business cards with variations on a single design (banners coming from two different places, cards from a third place). The design has some very light grays in it: 4% 7% and 15% K.

For the banners it's possible for me to add a spot colour. So I am wondering, is there a better chance of the light grays showing up properly if I:

A: Set all the greys to be tints of Pantone Black.

B: Set all the grays to be tints of say, Cool Gray 3.

C: Set the very lightest gray (4%K) to be Cool Gray 1 at 100%. And keep the other grays (7% and 15%) as process tints.

D: Stick with the process black tints.


I'm designing the banners in Illustrator. The material is fabric for one and vinyl for the others. Unfortunately I think its too late to get physical proofs made.

Thanks very much,


4/24/2015 11:31:00 PM

Accepted Answer

If it's just black (k) there will be virtually no difference -- a tint is a tint.

A 7% tint of black is equal to a 7% tint of [insert any Pantone color here]. Using spot colors does not improve a screen's ability to filter ink.

The only difference would be the color of ink being tinted, but the tints will be the same quality.

If you want to remove the tints, then yes, laying down a solid grey spot color, without any tint, will result in a better appearance than any tint will provide.

4/25/2015 12:01:00 AM