Printing Lingo: What is Grayscale Printing?

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Color Image vs Grayscale Image
In the realm of commercial printing, the term Grayscale refers to a technique for creating images, such as photographs or designs, using different percentages of black ink to create varying shades of gray.

Unlike full-color printing, which applies multiple colors in various concentrations, grayscale printing only uses black ink to compose an image. In order to represent the variations in tone and contrast within the image, the ink is applied in concentrations ranging from 0% black to 100% black.

Because grayscale printing only uses the black ink color, it is more budget-friendly than full-color printing. That said, even though grayscale is devoid of color and relatively inexpensive, it still reproduces high-resolution images.

What types of Print Projects use Grayscale printing?

Grayscale printing is most commonly used for simple print projects that contain images that do not need to display in color. For example, basic instruction sheets, product manuals, and assembly guides often have images printed in grayscale to save money.

Likewise, corporate logos on envelopes, letterhead, forms and other "no-frills" documents are often printed in grayscale. Also, grayscale is sometimes used as an artistic design element on certain types of printing, such as photography books.

Grayscale is generally not recommended for printed pieces used for promotional purposes, such as brochures, postcards, or presentation folders. Full-color printing is the better choice when trying to promote a company, product, or service. This is because a colorful image grabs attention, increases interest, and boosts recall better than a grayscale image.

If you have any questions or need help with an upcoming print project, give Formax Printing a call at 866-367-6221. Or, if you already know your project's specs and would like a quote, click here to submit our easy quote request form. As always, we look forward to assisting with your printing needs!

Take care! Rick

About the Author

Rick Stallings is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Rick is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221 or by submitting our easy quote request form. Rick and the Formax team have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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