My client asks to use one metallic gold color (for example Pantone 871c) in large heading text and other designs. I'd like to make the gold color pop even more with gradient of light and dark. How do I do this in photoshop? Can this be done using only one single spot gold color? Below image shows an simulated gold color with similar effect I want.

enter image description here

  • What if I use gradient from the gold spot color to a cmyk yellow (maybe y90)? Can this be done, and what do you think this will look like? Apr 23, 2019 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


You can't make any single color darker than itself at 100%,

In order to pull off a gradient, you would need to use a tint of the color for lighter areas. You could create a gradient of something like 100%-80%-50-100%. Where 100% is the solid color. However, that is the darkest it will get.

This is easier in Illustrator or Indesign...

enter image description here

For Photoshop you would need a Spot Color Channel they simply apply a white gradient over black on that channel.

enter image description here

Results of tinting a metallic spot color will, most likely, not be what you expect. You may want to discuss tinting metallics with the print provider.

Your sample is mixing black with the color, which you can't do for a single spot color

  • Can I bring illustrator gradient element into photoshop as smart object? Apr 23, 2019 at 0:32
  • Can you explain why you said: "Results of tinting a metallic spot color will, most likely, not be what you expect."? I mean without using gradient, what other solution do you suggest that can achieve the more dynamic gold? Apr 23, 2019 at 0:33
  • @user3108698 Spot colors from Illustrator will not separate properly if brought into Photoshop as a smart object. Photoshop spot colors must be built in Photoshop. -- By tints being unexpected, I mean.... because the color is metallic, the substrate will play a very large role in how the metallic will look when tinted. Only the print provider may have enough experience to give some good direction there. With a single color, the only option is tints.
    – Scott
    Apr 23, 2019 at 0:38
  • The entire point of metallic inks is to look metallic. So, are you certain you need to do more? On screen they'll look more dull, but not off of the press.
    – Scott
    Apr 23, 2019 at 0:41
  • If you look at Pantone 871 C and all the other limited metallic gold colors, all of them look very dull and dark by itself. I think this is the reason why the client want the effect of more realistic, shinnier gold. Apr 23, 2019 at 0:45

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