Rich Black Vs. Flat Black (A Designer’s Quandary)

So, even though my blog is called Jessie Kay Graphics and Design, I haven’t gotten around to very much design work, have I?
I am sorry for failing you thus far, but I am here to rectify the situation!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I always find something else to talk to ya’ll about.

In this post, I will be thinking in terms of CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black) because I design for print 98% of the time.
The same methods apply in RGB, just the blends will be different.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!


When you think of the color black, one color probably comes to mind, right?
Well, the thing is, black can actually be a lot of different colors.
I’m going to barely scratch the surface here, because I am sticking to Flat Black and Rich Black.
Other blogs I read explain the other versions of black better than I do, like in this post from Andrew Kelsall.

First up is Flat Black.
Flat Black is C0 M0 Y0 K100. (Or 100% Black). This color of black looks kinda like  black, until you compare it to some of the other blacks I will talk about in a minute.

Flat black is also known as “Standard Black”.

This color is most often used for magazine and book text, and also newsprint. Mostly because it doesn’t use as much ink as the other types, so that it doesn’t make the pages heavy or look murky with smaller sizes of print.

Next up on the list is Designer’s Black, or Rich Black.
Every designer has a particular blend they like to use.
The mix I use most often is C75 M68 Y67 K90.
It is a very rich and punchy black, that is better used for design work apart from small type.
Using this blend on small type makes the printed ink blur together and just doesn’t look too hot. Just sayin.

And here is a comparison, in case you were curious. You can really tell the difference when you put them together!

I hope this helps! If you like this post, follow me!
And if you would like to see more posts like this, let me know in the comments below! I love hearing from ya’ll!


About jessicaapeters

Jessica  is a graphic design extraordinare, a marketing newbie, and a photographer trying to find her style. She lives with her amazing boyfriend and their cute-but-evil cat Scooter and rambunctious kitten Loki. She details their life, her trade, and other shenanigans here on her blog. View all posts by jessicaapeters

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