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Am I using the correct black color?
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The color black is a common color used in design. But like other colors, not every black color is the same, as it has different shades as well.

The most obvious black color is 100% black, or expressed in CMYK: C = 0%, M = 0%, Y = 0%, K = 100%. The printing press thus only prints 100% key (black) in these places. But paper always absorbs the ink a little, which causes the color to look dark gray. This black is best used for reading texts.

To give surfaces a richer deeper black, use one of the following shades of black:

  • Cool Black: C=70%, M=25%, Y=30%, K=100%
  • Warm Black: C=35%, M=60%, Y=60%, K=100%
  • Rich Black: C=50%, M=50%, Y=50%, K=100%

Verschillende tinten zwart
Figure 1: different shades of black

Note: make sure that the total ink coverage does not exceed 280%. A higher percentage might cause stains. You can read more about the ink coverage here.

Another shade is the "Registration Black Color". In this black 100% of each color is used (C = 100%, M = 100%, Y = 100%, K = 100%). This is used for registration marks and cut lines because they occur on every color layer. You should not use this in your layout.

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