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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.

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  • 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? – user3108698 Apr 23 at 18:42
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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? – user3108698 Apr 23 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? – user3108698 Apr 23 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 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 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. – user3108698 Apr 23 at 0:45
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You can use a real gold background high resolution image and mask the text avoiding any Photoshop gradient effect.

This image is free, from unsplash.com

enter image description here

enter image description here

Insert after the comments:

I guess your client is a little bit confused about the gold effect. Many things:

  1. Will those images be used for printing or screen?
  2. Does your client want the shining gold reflection in a printed text? You will never get this with a gold ink, less if you use gradients with other inks
  3. In printing there's a big difference between a printed metallic ink and gold foil stamping

Metallic ink achieves a subtler effect than foil stamping because it’s applied to your project early in the printing process, then covered with a finish (lamination or varnish). Foil stamping, on the other hand, achieves more of a vivid impact and a highly realistic metallic shine because it is applied to your project after printing has already been completed. (from printninja.com)

  • Yes, but the client is insisting to use a pantone metallic gold because of the reflectiveness of the metallic flakes in the ink. – user3108698 Apr 23 at 0:40
  • Can I turn your image into monotone using the spot color? – user3108698 Apr 23 at 0:41
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    @user3108698 then you're back to using tints of the spot color. – Scott Apr 23 at 0:42
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    Then I guess your client wants a foil stamping. – Danielillo Apr 23 at 0:56
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    That quote is incorrect. Not all metallic ink print projects are covered with a finish. Also the shine of foil stamping is inherent in the foil material itself. It has nothing to do with the order of printing whatsoever. – Billy Kerr Apr 23 at 8:07

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