The Four Color Process, or CMYK color printing, is a manufacturing procedure that uses screens and filters to separate a color image into 4 individual color values. This is called color separation. What was once done with a graphics art camera can now be done with the help of software that can be used to control printers that place the four distinct colors — cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) — into the right areas to produce the correct colors for the design.
This process uses four plates, one for each color, to create the precise designs that are being asked for. Each different colored plate is applied one at a time, with precision and accuracy being the key to creating very detailed and correctly crafted images, copy, and designs. If there is a misalignment to one color application, the result is a blurry or hazy design. Properly aligned plates will result in a sharp and clear image or copy on your labels and plates.
To simplify, here are some key features of this manufacturing process:
- Four standard colors (CMYK) are used all the time
- Designs are made with the printing of tiny dots at different angles on the surface of the material
- Considered the most cost effective method for printing colored designs
- Cheaper than toner based printing methods