I was asked to design a piece of junk-mail advertising. It has to be one color. Here are links of how it should look:



What I want to know is, how do you get your design like that?

It's like everything was full color and changed to black and white.... well in this case to blue and white.

Is there a specific way to design like that. Or can you design in full color, and the printers will print it only in one color?

4 Answers 4


Design in greyscale, black and white. And it's printed with one ink. It doesn't matter what color that ink is. It's still just one color.

Don't use Pantone or spot colors, just design everything with black and white. The printer will use whatever ink color they choose.

There is never a reason one would need to use one spot color to design something like this. There's absolutely no benefit to designing a one color print project using one spot color. All you essentially do is create more work for yourself. Whether you use greyscale/black & white or a single spot color, in the end all that's output is a single color plate. That single plate is put on a press and the color is chosen by the press operator. Just because you go to all the work of setting up a file using Pantone 286U, the press operator can still simply put Pantone 185C into the ink wells for the press and run the job red rather than blue.

If your client isn't conceptual enough to understand that all you need is one color (black), you should still design the ad in black. Then for approval simply tint or apply a temporary color overlay to shift the color for client approval. I've never had a client fail to understand that the color is determined by the ink on the press and that the design still needs to be black and white.


There's multiple approaches to this, but the best way is probably to ask the printer how you should deliver stuff to them. It's highly probable they allow you to send in a black and white .pdf/.jpg/.eps and will convert it to blue themselves.

If you need to create a page or publication like this from scratch, you'll need to know the Pantone (PMS) colour you need to create the image in. Layout the ad in InDesign using this PMS colour and only this. It might be useful to add it as a swatch, and remove all others.

Any pixel images you place need to be converted to monotone in Photoshop. You can convert an image to monotone by first setting the mode to 'grayscale' ('Image' > 'Mode' > 'Grayscale') and then to monotone ('Image' > 'Mode' > 'Duotone'). Choose 'Monotone' for the Type and select your PMS colour for the ink. Save as a .psd and place in InDesign.

  • 1
    You could also save your images as greyscale TIFF and tint them in InDesign. This would be more flexible if you needed to change the ink colour.
    – e100
    Jan 9, 2013 at 19:15

This might help you understand the process and what you need :)

If you're in Photoshop, change image to greyscale, go to Image > Mode > Duotone (choose monotone and then your ink color), and you're done!

A video of the process is here: How to make a monotone image in Photoshop

  • 1
    Could you please explain in detail what is depicted in the video? SE sites are intended to provide answers, not links to answers or tutorials - as those links might go unavailable in the future.
    – kontur
    Jan 9, 2013 at 13:39
  • HI,i did explain the process as above, first the artwork must be made greyscale (this deletes all colour information), then going to the image menu>mode>duotone the user selects "monotone" and then can select the ink colour, there really isnt too much more since its short process ;)
    – StackBuddy
    Jan 9, 2013 at 14:20
  • This doesn't address the example given. The example is of one color printing, which requires a black and white source file.
    – DA01
    Jan 9, 2013 at 17:11
  • 1
    @DA01: this answer isn't wrong as such - a monotone is a single channel image with instructions to print (and preview) in a specific ink. But Bakabaka's answer gives more context on when you'd do this.
    – e100
    Jan 9, 2013 at 19:12
  • I agree the answer isn't 'wrong' per se, but it's not really addressing the printing issue.
    – DA01
    Jan 9, 2013 at 20:11

design however you want then when you save the file as a pdf you select the output which you will then select destination for printing and choose grey scale. end of the issue and you still have your color version for printing in other formats.


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