Soon, The Printer's Palette Will Have Six Inks

Four-color printing is far from perfect. Certain hues--shades of orange and green, for instance--are impossible to match using the limited palette of inks: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Commercial printers of annual reports and other high-quality documents want something truer to life. Enter Pantone Inc. This fall, the Carlstadt (N.J.) company plans to unveil a six-color process that creates colors with much higher fidelity without special tinkering.

Four of the six colors are adjustments of the standard four. Pantone won't reveal the other two until the announcement. Some presses can't handle six colors, and those that can sometimes reserve the extra inkwells for special effects such as metallic inks. But for printers that can use Pantone's system, "it gives you a much broader reproducible gamut of colors," says Hapet A. Berberian, a senior director at Eastman Kodak Co.'s Color Management Systems unit.

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