basic ink colors

I’m just getting my own press running, and I’m shopping for a set of rubber-based inks. The shops I’ve worked in so far have both had a pretty extensive range of pantone colors, so I don’t mix colors very often. I’d love some suggestions on what colors I could start with to acheive the most mixing flexibility with the least amount of colors.

I figure I’ll need a transpaent white, some blue (reflex or process?), a red (warm or rubine?), a yellow, and a black.

Any suggestions on brands you like would be great too.


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With the set below you can mix any Pantone color (save for metallics, pastels, etc.)

Transparent White
Pantone Yellow
Warm Red
Rubine Red
Rhodamine Red
Pantone Purple
Pantone Violet
Reflex Blue
Process Blue
Pantone Green

I like VanSon Rubber Plus.

Hope that helps,

If I could have only a few colors I would have: Black(of course), Red (185-Dutch Fireball is VanSon), Reflex Blue, Pantone Yellow, Process Blue, Mixing White & Orange (165-TigerLily-VanSon). Maybe some opaque white. This is basic to get started. About a $200 - $300 investment or more in 1 lb. cans from VanSon if new. If you want to start mixing PMS inks, that’s another story. I guess I’m lucky cause I work in a small offset shop and I get all the rejected cans of ink, wrong mixes & free samples from ink suppliers. My boss doesn’t like Rubber Base ink or Oil Base ink. He’s hooked on Acrylic Spinks for some reason. That’s OK with me.