Ink Levels

Ink Levels

If your design puts a lot of ink onto the paper, our quick turnaround means that your job would not have time to dry before it is cut. Your job might even begin to adversely affect other jobs printed at the same time. For this reason, we may be forced to remove your job from the run at any stage of the process. 

For coated papers (gloss and silk, but not bond or most other stationery papers including recycled), you can use colours made up from more than 225% but less than 300%.

Substrate type

Ink Limit


Coated Papers



Uncoated Papers



Reverse of Scratch Cards, black ink only


50% in large areas

Reverse of Postcards, full colour


150% in large areas

Digital Printing



Large Format Printing



Take special care with...

600gsm business card and thick flyers

The thickness of the card means it requires a little more pressure to cut them. We recommend keeping ink levels below 225% and avoiding large blocks of colour that bleed to the edge.

Double Sided 80gsm Letterheads

The maximum ink level for Double Sided 80gsm Letterheads is 225%. We recommend keeping ink levels lower than this to help avoid show-through.

Checking your Ink Levels in Adobe Acrobat (using Output Preview)

Checking the total amount of ink used (0 to 100%) per CMYK colour channel is quick and easy using Adobe Acrobat's Output Preview Tool.

Open your PDF in Acrobat, then enter the Maximum Ink Limit (using the table above) into the Total Area Coverage Box. Ink that exceeds this limit will be highlighted using your chosen colour (green in the example below).


Using Colour Presets to Reduce Ink Levels in Adobe Photoshop

Create the following colour presets to save time when converting RGB images to CMYK, or reducing Ink Levels present in CMYK images - Coated (300%) and Uncoated (225%). (Click to Download Presets)

To create colour presets in Adobe Photoshop, select Edit > Colour Settings > Working Spaces: CMYK > Custom CMYK... and then copy the appropriate screengrab below saving your presets for future use.








Applying your presets to RGB and CMYK Images

To convert RGB Images: Open your image in Photoshop, select the saved preset (found under Edit > Colour Settings > Coated/UnCoated), then select: Image > Mode > CMYK.

To convert CMYK Images : Open your image in Photoshop, select the saved preset (found under Edit > Colour Settings > Coated/UnCoated), then select: Image > Mode > Lab > CMYK

The RGB to CMYK colour conversion will reduce ink levels within your image to either 225% or 300% which reduces the likleyhood of ink transfer from the front to reverse of your design.

This conversion adjusts the CMY Colour Channels within your image by adding in more K (black) to achieve the same dark colours using less ink.