I stepped away from print design for a while and forget somethings and I have rush job.

With latest version of adobe illustrator and setting up CMYK gradient's to transparent on top of other CMYK colors. Do I need to check the "Overprint Fill" when setting up the gradients? Or is this just for PMS colors?

(When I built the PDF so far I did not get any transparency alerts)

Also do I need to label the swatch as a process color?

  • Colors in process printing knock out all colors below them, otherwise they would mix and create new colors. A transparent gradient means it goes from colors to....nothing. The nothing does not knock out what's below it. You don't want anything overprinting (mixing) with anything else in the scenario you described.
    – user8356
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


Transparency is only an issue with spot colors (as the warning states). that's why you won't see the warning when working with CMYK objects.

If you don't want colors to darken due to overprinting, don't set things to overprint. There's no requirement to set CMYK objects to overprint, gradient or not.

The overprinting you are remembering is for when trying to create a gradient from one spot color to another spot color and has nothing to do with CMYK objects.

The swatch part of the question is a bit unclear as to the motivation...

If you used a spot color swatch then its basic structure needs to be changed to separate as process colors and not a spot color.

The name of any process color swatch means nothing for production. It doesn't matter what the swatches are named, they will separate out to CMYK regardless. But the swatch should be set as a process color swatch (which non-spot color swatches are by default). If you started with a spot color swatch then you need to alter the swatch to be a process swatch in the Swatch Options. Swatches set to spot will generate separate plates when output - you don't want that for process color jobs.


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