I am creating my logo in Illustrator (ready to place in InDesign as part of a DVD sleeve.) and I'm wondering if I should be choosing 'Spot Color' or 'Process Color' for my whites. (For the other settings I have chosen 'CMYK C=0 M=0 Y=0 K=0'.)

  • 3
    Do you intend to print white ink?? In most cases there is no "white" -- rather there is just no ink there and the stock is white. If you intend to print white ink, you need to talk to the print provider. Solid, opaque, white ink is a challenging thing in some cases.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 18:51

5 Answers 5


White is absence of color in most printing techniques.

If you use a spot color for your white and use a standard offset printing, it will count as an extra plate and you will need to modify or pay to have the logo modified to ignore that extra separation anyway.

You can use a white spot color when you plan to use your logo on t-shirts or plastic for example, but rarely on paper (offset.) On offset and standard printing, you can simply use a normal C0-M0-Y0-K0 or "divide/clean-up" the logo to remove the white parts by using the pathfinder tool!

Some links related to your question:

How can I have prints with white ink?

Can a 2-color logo be red, black and white?


You can't print white with CMYK. So, if you are literally printing with a white ink, it'd have to be a Pantone color.


If there is other ink on the substrate, and your logo is just the absense of ink, then it is CMYK(0). If on the other hand, your logo is printing in white on (for example) a silver foil or colored paper...then it is a "spot color."


IIRC InDesign reads 0/0/0/0 as "paper" unless you spec an actual swatch in your AI file as 0/0/0/0.

  • Thanks for your response! So for what is the correct thing to do for whites in Illustrator? Should it be paper or a spot color? Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 18:18
  • Just double checked to be sure: In AI, set anything you want to be white (when printed on white paper) to a CMYK value of 0/0/0/0 -or- AIs default white swatch. Creating a custom swatch for 0/0/0/0 will cause a new swatch to appear in ID as well. The only time to use a spot swatch for white is if you're printing on another colour stock or on a t-shirt. In the latter case, however, artwork is often supplied in separations. This will vary based on the printer. TL;DR: if youre printing on white stock, use 0/0/0/0. If you're printing on another colour, talk to the printer.
    – AMontpetit
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 18:41

In a practical case in this situation, it is the same. Yo can leave a CMYK at 0 values, "white" or inclusive rgb white.

But there are some times when there is a diference. For example printing dark T-shirts. You actually need a white ink to be printed there. But sometimes you can define a very light gray spot color so other people know there is sonething there, and replace it with actual white ink.

You can consider, instead of putting a "white" part of a logo, for example the dots on a domino's pizza, and making a "real hole" on the blue square. This way there is no "white" on your logo.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.