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Artwork Guidelines

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How to obtain the best tints and gradients (vignettes/blends)

There is a tendency for banding (changes in density) on all electronic devices and this can give rise to undesirable artifacts in blends or areas of tint. It will very much depend on the colour and its density since your eye is particularly sensitive to these changes in some colours. For example, you cannot easily detect changes in density in yellow or red but you can quite easily see changes in blue or green.

There is no magic formula to tell you if a colour will be problematic. Vale Labels will be able to advise you on this. As a guide colours that are difficult to print conventionally out of four-colour process inks will also be difficult to print on an HP Indigo digital press.There are however some guidelines and tips that you can use to minimise the appearance of banding should you need to do so.

If you can, try to avoid using large areas of that particular colour. Smaller patches will look better than large areas. Lighter tints tend to look better than heavier tints, but try to avoid specifying tints lighter than 5%.

If you have a large area of a colour that is proving difficult then either consider printing it as spot colour (check with Vale  to see if this could be an option) or introduce some granularity into it. This can be done with most professional image editing software. Create an image with the actual physical size you need and fill it with the colour you require and then add some noise (5—10%), pattern or texture. This will help to smooth its appearance whilst maintaining the original colour.

The same tactics can be applied to blends. Blends can show banding and again it will depend on the colours in the blend. Best results are achieved when the tonal range is less than 50%. Shorter blends tend to be better than longer blends since the change in tone is less subtle. Similar to tints you could also generate the blend using an image editing software package and then add some noise.

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