Some of the new digital printers work on more than 4 primary colors. For example the HP indigo series of digital printers boast with being able to produce ~98% of all pantone colors. This means that the gamut achieved by these printers are much larger than that of a standard process color device.

But how does one actually prepare a print to use this gamut fully? On desktop printers one is supposed to send a RGB file which is then converted to whatever the printer is using. But then I dont need to preview everything if I can just localy make proofs.

Since the color conversion isn't a one to one kind of business how do i know what will happen, and should i care. Should i send cmyk or rgb and should i just trust my color engine to do a adequate job?

I supose i could just add spot color channels on the images and do a manual separation (been a while). I suppose I could just limit myself to a wide cmyk space. Or should I work in Lab space?

2 Answers 2


I found a HP resource for the output profile as I too was curious Color Management Settings for HPIndigoInk250Photo.icc Profile You treat the additional colour channels as you would for spot colour with traditional press - but there is a naming convention for the 'plate' to be recognised by the RIP. You will find further explanations on Youtube if you search for 'Design for Indigo press'

  • Yes but i was more refering to the general case, i might not want to limit my design to one brand of manufacturing. +1 anyway.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 10:44
  • @joojaa I think Mark Read is right. You prepare your files as you would for an offset 6-colors if you use cmyk+spots (or maybe hexachrome, I don't know), and you leave them as RGB if the requirements of your printer recommends/allows it (eg. printers like Epson Stylus large format). For the proof, you can ask a single printed proof from the Indigo and the final run should be the same as your proof. Good question and answer, by the way. Interesting info.
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:50
  • @go-meek sure, maybe im just expecting a bit too much. I would have liked a answer wich is a bit more selfcontained and guiding. This is enough for me but not exactly a stellar answer for a novice.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 1:15

I ran an HP Latex printer at a previous job. (A large format printer for vinyl and banners etc.) It was a 6 color Light/Dark model, meaning CMYK + Light Magenta + Light Cyan. We would take whatever art was given to us whether RGB or CMYK and run it through the printers RIP software(we used Onyx) using the color profiles for our 6c L/D setup, which would automatically convert the file to 6 color with darker blacks and more vibrant, bright colors. While we could tweak the levels manually we almost never did and let the RIP do its magic.

Not the same setup as the Indigo which runs CMYK Hexachrome (CMYK + Orange + Green + Violet), I know, but I believe the same applies at most production print shops.

If they print CMYK Hexachrome, they most likely are RIPing any art they get into CMYK Hexachrome, even if you sent them RGB. And it would most likely look great.

You could design in spot color and take advantage of the extra color gamut, but unless there is a specific need, CMYK should be fine, you are already going to benefit from the deeper, richer, more vibrant color that the extra inks will provide.

  • My biggest problem with this approach is that i want to know what i get before i send it to printer. so automatic is fine if i wouldt care what i get.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 3:26

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