Custom Colors


Colors other than the standard CMYK are called “custom colors.”

There are certain colors that can’t be accurately reproduced just by layering CMYK. These are typically more vibrant colors.

C & Y layered will produce green, but to produce a prettier, more vibrant green, it’s better to use a custom formulated green ink. If we need to make a yellow-green ink, for example, we would mix a custom color green ink with a bit of standard Y ink for the desired shade.

If, for example, a client needed to only reproduce green lettering on a Clear File or other product, it would also be cheaper to use a custom green ink, rather than use C & Y together and layer them. This is because most printing is priced on a per color basis.

Halftone Dots

Pre Press

Rather than printing a solid image, all offset printed images (and many other kinds of printing) is composed of tiny dots called “halftone dots.”

To show shading or gradation, the dots can be printed larger or smaller. Larger dots make for darker, denser colors, while smaller dots make for lighter, less dense colors.

Halftone dots are expressed as a percentage. For example in a given area on a page or Clear File printed at 50%, ink would cover 50% of the area, while 50% of the area would have no ink coverage.

Printing on the Front and Printing on the Back

Pre Press

Typically, when printing on paper for example, designs are printed on the front. However since Clear Files are printed on clear material, we actually print the designs onto the back of the material, allowing the design to “show through” to the other side. (Think of it like looking at the design from the other side of a window.)

Printing on the reverse side allows us to prevent the ink from getting scratched or damaged, thus making the file more durable. It also allows us to preserve the natural sheen and transparency of the plastic.

White Ink on Clear Files

Pre Press

Clear Files are printed on clear plastic, and the ink used is also clear. This means that when printing a design, it will generally be transparent, and sometimes difficult to see. To make the final image opaque (and easier to see), we use white ink.

clear file-Zodiac-4C-W


We can also print designs using white ink. Covering an entire file or half a file with white ink, using white as a spot color and printing letters and text with white ink are all possible.


clear file-Mahfood-4C-W



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