I need to print a cover with black text, on uncoated paper. I want to use one of the Pantone blacks. What is the difference between Pantone black and Pantone process black?

3 Answers 3


Process black is a more transparent ink, which will give you a grayish look.

If you want a darker black use for example Neutral black 165-1-7c. But it is important than you talk to the printer and tell him that you want the blackest one possible. It is not that important that you specify it on the file. It is more important that you clarify this talking to them.

Some people have special inks for this. Where I live some people call it "night black".

If you want a really black black and your design is on 1 ink you can ask them to pass twice the paper so you have black on black. But it will cost a bit more.


Actually, there are many PANTONE black swatches and the difference between them is the percentage of the CMYK mix. The reason for that is to suit a variety of design methods that suits different materials to print on, and different appearance of black color.

To decide what black you need to use, I suggest referring to this nice article about how professional designer use black in design:


Also as Mr. «Rafael» mentioned in his answer, you need really to communicate with your printer because this is the best way to guarantee your results.

From my experience as a designer & Printer, I found that sometimes even if you use (100K) process black it will differ according to the ink manufacturer & the dumping system of the printing machines. The common reader or user will not recognize that, but expert eye will.


Process black is just black ink and it will print black but not a rich black, which is what we call it in the printing industry where I live. There are 2 ways to achieve rich black: combine it with cyan and/or other 4 color process inks - or use a PMS pantone black that comes ready mixed in a can. I work in commercial printing and which way you go depends on your design and other colors you are using.If you have 4 color process colors in the design already, use process. if you have a PMS palette already or no process - use pantone black.

  • typo-sorry- should say no process - not no press. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 19:06
  • Please register your account, then you can edit your own question ...
    – Mensch
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 11:01
  • 2
    I would add a word of caution since OP mentions the color is intended for text - if the text is a small point size, it may be better to avoid using rich cmyk black because of potential registration issues
    – curious
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 15:25

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