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What if you're designing a job that's going to print on a digital press? Can they even print spot colors? Well, you're going to find that a lot of digital presses don't support spot colors. They're based on CMYK toners or inks. Although some vendors do offer some limited spot inks or toners. The Xerox iGen And HP Indigo presses are capable of doing some spot colors, but they have a limited range of offerings. So you should ask your printer before you get your heart set on a color. But here's something kind of interesting, the inks and the toners that are used on digital presses, even though they might be called cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, use slightly different pigments, they use slightly different, extenders and binders. And they may have a wider color gamut than offset inks. You know, it depends on the color that you're trying to print. An this is really good news.
Often they can come closer to matching PANTONE colors, than offset presses can. So you should ask your printer. Rather than you losing some vibrancy by converting to CMYK up front, see if you can't benefit by keeping your colors specified as spot colors, and then let that device do the conversion, because they have internal software that can. Look at the PANTONE color that you've specified in your document, and then convert that to a value that prints fairly closely on their press. So don't give up color, early, because you may not have to. But of course talk to the printer, see how close they can come, and you may find that this is actually good news.
You may actually get better rendering on a digital press, then you would on an offset press. And I'll bet you that's sort of a surprise.
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