I'm working on some tasting cards for a winery and have since received a proof of my design. However how I've set it up completely wrong in terms of the opacities I'm using. I've known for a long time about using opacities in my designs but never really looked into it as I tended to stay away from them. My designs are now including more opacities and it's best to just KNOW this as a a new graphic designer.

I have read some great articles and other graphic design exchange questions and answers (Spot Color Transparency and Screens in Illustrator, Printing: Opacity color or transparency in Abode Illustrator to name a couple) but they don't quite quench my curiosity/confusion about this.

What I'm trying to do is get as close to the opacity effect we see on our monitors to the file that is printed. I'm looking to drop the transparency of the cream swoosh behind the logo (it is PANTONE 728 C @ 10% opacity). Understandably I wont get my desired effect due to the use of the opacity, but how else or what else can I do to get this same effect for when it's printed? What I see from tints is all you get is a slightly different colour and not a transparency.

This is what my design looks like on my computer This is what my design looks like on my computer

This is what the design looks like printed with that 10% opacity enter image description here

What is the appropriate course of action to get my swoosh to have a proper printed transparency? I've played with some tints but they are all solid colours, unless there is something else you can do with them?

Any advice would be appreciated!


2 Answers 2


I'm adding my 2 cents. And the option you choose depends on the print technique and if you can interact with the printing house.

1) A transparency can be achived using a screen. The ink used will be your PANTONE 728 C but the plate will have your 10% pattern.

This is used in lithography and offset printing for example.

2) A transparency can be actual transparent ink. You can dilute the pantone ink in some transparent base (good quality one) probably this will not work in some cases if the transparent base is not pure enough.

This is a good choice for silk screening prints, but can work in other printing methods.

Not every printing house will agree to make this special ink. You need to be phisically there to aprove the tone.

Aditional control on this transparency can be done manipulating the amount of ink on an offset press but I don't recomend this.

3) You can choose a lighter solid color. This only works if your paper has no texture.

  • It is funny how someone votes down with no arguments. :o)
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 8:18

As indicated in your second link.....

Set the swoosh to a 10% tint of Pantone 728 and then set it to overprint. Same essential appearance, no transparency.

Overprinting allows ink underneath to bleed through what's printed over it. Overprinting will allow color to build up in areas to a maximum of 100% of a color.

XX% opacity = XX% tint + overprinting

I think the question you linked to actually answers this: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/46187/3270

  • I thought you could make a question a duplicate instead of just voting on it? Or did you not do it because you thought it could "possibly" help the OP?
    – user9447
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 20:23
  • @Darth_Vader this isn't tagged with Photoshop or Illustrator so I can't close it. And... I answered it.. and then the more I thought about it.... the more I think it's just a duplicate. But I'm not 100% certain of that... maybe I'm missing something.
    – Scott
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 20:26

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