When preflighting a magazine advert, I am getting a warning about ink coverage being over 320%. The problem is that the colours causing this are in an image with a green filter. Unfortunately I cant change the green as it is a brand colour/style. Im working in the Coating FOGRA29 colour profile if that makes a difference, with standard PDF/X-4 2010

This is the warning:

enter image description here

This is the colour: enter image description here

and this is the output preview of all the ink coverage over 320% marked in the blue.

enter image description here


You are probably multiplying a color on top of an image in Illustrator, right? Or maybe you a re doing it some other way.

The problem is that when you export a pdf to print using a color profile which should only allow a total ink of 320%, Illustrator (or other applications like InDesign) doesn't analyze your layers in depth to make sure that your layered artwork actually complies to the color profile. It simply converts each object separately, so your image gets a total ink of 320%, but then you add more color on top resulting in too high total ink.

So, what can be done about this? I have two different approaches:

  1. Add the color tint to the image in Photoshop in RGB and convert the image to the correct CMYK profile (you probably do this on export in Illustrator). This way the colors will be converted as a whole and the total ink of the color profile will be honored.

  2. It looks like you are adding a green on top of a neutral image. If you are using an RGB image it will consist of all four CMYK colors when converted to CMYK. If you convert your neutral image to grayscale you have made sure that the resulting color never can get any darker than your green color + 100% black. Depending on the green color, this will probably keep you below 320%.

  • I forgot to ask: How much higher than 320% is the highlighted area? If it's just 321% it might not be a problem. – Wolff Aug 30 at 20:26
  • The worst part I could find is at 355% – Shixma Aug 30 at 20:33
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    That is too much. It can make it harder for the printer to do the job. The papers might stick together and smear, it might take longer to dry or the printer might apply a thinner layer of color (density) to compensate resulting in a lighter print. Does one of my solutions appeal to you? – Wolff Aug 30 at 20:36
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    First solution is working! Thanks so much for the help – Shixma Aug 30 at 20:42
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    You're welcome. If the brand color is a CMYK color and you added it in RGB mode it's not technically the same color any more, but the most important thing is if it looks similar. When you mix it with the image below you are already not using the exact brand color anymore. – Wolff Aug 30 at 20:57

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