Printing Help

How To Get A Solid Black on Your Prints

In four-color press printing, black is achieved by mixing cyan, magenta and yellow and then adding black ink on top of that. The result is a rich, deep black color. If you don’t have your image colors set correctly, though, the black can appear gray or washed out. Because of that, we recommend you set your CMYK Black value to 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow and 100% Key (which is Black).

Each program will differ slightly in the way you set the CMYK calibration, but Adobe’s Photoshop is a standard program (and the steps are very similar in other Adobe products).

  • Click on the eyedropper tool from the toolbox and then click “Levels” in the Adjustment panel.
  • In the dialog box that appears, double-click on the eyedropper with the black ink inside it.
  • Enter “60” for C, “40” for M, “40” for Y and “100” for K then click “OK.”

This sets the black level of your image to be deep and fully saturated. You only need to do this for larger text and graphics; small text at 100% black (K) will look dark and saturated. Note that you may need to flatten your image before you adjust the color to maintain the color consistency throughout the entire image.

If you don’t have a program that can work with CMYK, we can convert the file for you. When you upload your artwork, contact our art team with your job number and let them know that you want the black set to the 60, 40, 40 and 100 values. You can email the art team at or call 877-405-3949.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *