We’ve covered the saturation scale for a single colour above. For example, if you’re printing in black and white, your only CMYK colour would be K (black). Ink saturation is also an important consideration when printing with all four CMYK colours.
When you are choosing CMYK colours for your design, they are formulated on a scale of 0% to 100%.
This isa measurement of how much of each C, M, Y, or K ink is used to create the final colour.
The more ink you add, the darker the final colour is.
So if each pixel in your print file has an ink saturation level between 0% and 100% and you have 4 CMYK colours, then the maximum possible saturation for each pixel is 400%.
For example, the blue/green colour we use for printing our Mixam logo is C:65 M:0 Y:28 K:0.
In other words, the Cyan is set at 65%, the Magenta at 0%, the Yellow at 28%, and the black at 0%.
That’s a total of 93% out of a possible 400%.
In the blocks of colour below, you can see how your monitor will show four different browns, ranging from 100% saturation to 400% saturation. You can see how they are created by increasing the percentage of each CMYK colour.
Once you exceed 250% saturation, the paper becomes heavily saturated with ink, which can increase printing costs and drying times due to the sheer volume of ink being used in the production process.