Printing food products + spot colours


i am working for a food company and we are going to do some baby food. design is going to be printed on pouches. I sent the design to the printer and they advised I can only use up to 9 spot colours and they prefer spot colours than cmyk. the artwork contain a lot of vector images that are cmyk based. any advise that how can i solve this? please see example of artwork: and the printer comment.

Find a different printer that screens 4-color CMYK? Or 4-color plus spot.
Or see if they can do screens of a single color. For instance your pumpkin can be made with 4 tints of the same spot color. The carrots can also use that same orange.
TINTS, not opacities.
Screened tints are not additional plates. I see pretty close to 9 colors there if you don’t count them as separate spots.

Of course, they may not want to print tints either, if they don’t like to do halftones on their screens. Can be tricky.

Printed on pouches - are the pouches a plastic or composite ? Are they printing Flexo or Screen ? If you need to go with these printers one option is to simplify your image so that it used fewer colours.

Last night I had written up much the same advice as PrintDriver, then didn’t post it because I’m not sure what the printer’s comments mean.

You say you can use nine spot colors, but that isn’t mentioned in the printer’s notes, which says, among other things, that the front cover is composed of process magenta and yellow, which is only partially true — there’s also cyan and black. The notes go on to say you can get the desired color by mixing inks, as in, I suppose, combining screen tints, which is exactly what 4-color process does and which you’re saying they can’t do. The printer also says the type on the back cover is composed of magenta and yellow, but the small part of it that you’ve posted contains black type.

So your comments about what the printer said seem to be in addition to what the printer’s confusing written words say. It all adds up to confusion.

There are printers who could print this in 4-color process quite well, although it probably would be best to use 4-color process + two or three spot colors. It would also be possible to rethink the colors a bit and pick nine spot colors and screen tints of those spot colors. There are multiple ways of doing this that would work. Honestly, though, if you’re going the spot color route, the fewer colors you use, in all likelihood, the less expensive this printing job will be (depending on the printer, of course and your client/employer’s needs).

However, given your confusion and the confusing comments by the printer, I would definitely get in touch with them and have a good, solid, informative discussion about what they can do, what they can’t and find out exactly how they need the artwork prepared. If it were me and I got the run-around from them, I’d be looking for a new printing company at that point. However, the problem might also be your inexperience (don’t know your background).

Whatever the reasons, you need to reach a mutual understanding with whatever printer you use. We can give opinions, but I’ve been doing this kind of thing for going on 40 years now, and even I’m confused by the details of what you’ve written and shown us. The only way you will clear this up is to communicate directly with the printer and not accept anything less from them than getting a complete understanding of the problem and what they need from you.

Sounds like it’s web-run with color by cylinder. I can see the orange being somewhat problematic as a web-run mix.
Can you post the actual file submission specs?

When a printer asks for spot colors instead of a 4 color process (CMYK), that most likely means that they can’t consistently hold 4 plate registration on their press.

I just ran into an issue like this with a printer, coincidentally for food packaging as well, but we used actual photographs for the food imagery. This printer I was using could only keep 2 plates in register (3 plates, if the it was limited to certain areas and didn’t make up the ‘body’ of the color) … The solution was to rebuild the CMYK mix of the photographs so each big ‘color’ areas of the photographs only used 2 colors.

For example, one of the photos was of strawberries. While the true photograph image was a mix of all 4 CMYK plates, we modified the “red” of the strawberry to only be M+Y and made the “green” strawberry leaves to only be C+Y.

I’d imagine you will have to do something similar here. But the good news is you have up to 9 colors to achieve this, which makes it seem very possible. Just make sure to find out how many Halftone Screen plates they can keep in register at once.

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