Spot Colors

Previously, I brought up CMYK and RGB coloring and their differences. CMYK uses subtractive color mixing to add color to printed graphics and images. RGB, on the other hand, uses additive color mixing to overlap colors on digital screens. But this topics dwells on printing in color and there’s one more method that we’re missing: spot colors. Although it’s not as commonly used compared to CMYK, it’s amazing technique should be acknowledged.

What are Spot Colors?

Photo by Copper and Wild on Unsplash

As stated before, CMYK is a color combining method which overlaps each layer of the four base colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) over each other to create the desired colors. With this, an image deceives the eye with four colors. However, spot colors are different because the desired colors are pre-mixed into a solid color. For instance, to get purple, instead of overlapping hues of cyan and magenta, you can use a specific recipe that mixes cyan and magenta to achieve the color wanted. This gives spot colors an advancement in color quality. But just like CMYK printing, it comes with conditions and limitations.

What You Can and Can’t Do

Photo by Keila Hötzel on Unsplash

It’s true that spot colors has conditions, one being money-the main issue that can get very expensive quickly- which is why spot color is used for certain graphics. Unlike for CMYK, where you can print out fully color images, spot colors are mainly used for printing logos. It’s best to print graphics that use four colors or less for smooth, simple coloring. And since spot color matches the perfect hue of your decision, it’s also better for more vibrant or metallic colors. This makes spot color perfect for basic logos consisting of one or two colors. Spot colors are also perfect for small font and fine lines that can’t be easily copied with the halftone dots of CMYK.


Does such high color quality and expensive terms make spot color better than CMYK printing? The answer of course is no. (which I’m sure you knew…right?) Both CMYK and spot color have their strengths and weaknesses but they both amazing ways to put your digital art to print. So if you ever think about using spot color, give it a try! For more information on spot color and its differences from CMYK, check out this amazing website I used. Enjoy!

Photoshop Files: 72 DPI vs. 300 DPI

Infamous for its versatile usages, Photoshop is compatible with many projects and occupations. And because it is a powerful and precise software, it has precise measurements and adjustments. This is where photo resolution comes in; which is how clear and sharp a photo appears. A photo’s resolution can be measured in DPI, or dots per inch. This measurement is used by printers to know how many dots they must rationally place when printed. Based on this post’s title, it’s safe to assume that 72 DPI probably isn’t as good as 300 DPI, because the more dots present, the better detailed the picture will be. But if it’s true, then why use 72 DPI? I wondered myself until I found out that 72 DPI is the standard measurement for computer screens. Or at least it was. It was a confusing fact because many computers are pretty big in size, making an image of 72 DPI seem small or at least blurry. And that’s when I researched some more and found that because technology has improved so much, that DPI differences aren’t noticed on device screens and therefore really don’t matter.

72 DPI

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Back in the 1980s when computers were a newer concept and smaller, Apple’s Macintosh had a 9 inch display and 72 DPI. And despite the evolution of computers, many people still hold onto the stigma that a computer’s resolution should be 72 DPI. So ignore what I said in the introduction: DPI is not a measurement for computer screens (anymore), but for printing out an image. Now that it’s clear, lets focus on image resolutions when printing. Image size and resolution go hand-in-hand, and the chosen DPI affects the overall size of the photo when printed. Additionally, an original image’s PPI-pixels per inch-can affect the image size when changed by the DPI. For example, if you have image with 500 x 500 pixels and change the resolution to 72 DPI, the image may grow or shrink in size to match the amount of dots you want an image to have. Overall, 72 DPI isn’t that bad, but what if you compare it to 300 DPI?

300 DPI

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Just for clarifications (because I’m we’re both a bit confused), an image with the resolution of 72 DPI looks fine on a computer screen so don’t bother changing it for a better photo unless it’s going to be printed. In this case, most photographers print their photos with the resolution of 300 DPI. This is the standard industry quality because the higher amount of dots will make the image more detailed and sharper. If the image resolution as 72 DPI, then the photo would be a good size, but pretty blurry. Now you’re probably wondering why Photoshop is in the title when it was only mentioned once. When printing an image, you can edit an image’s resolution on Photoshop before printing it. How to change image resolution: Image > Image Size > Resolution. That being said, I can conclude this blog here. We covered the differences, the myths, and the methods of image resolution. Hopefully, you got the gist of it but if not here’s the websites I used for DPI and the differences of 72 and 300 DPI. Good Luck!