Printing rich colors

Can any tell me if I heard wrong about this subject?

Back in my early days in printing early 70’s a pressman told me that if you want to print a dark solid black area, you should print the area in light red and come back with black on top to make the black ink look darker.

And, if you want red to be bright you can print yellow and print red ink as an over print to make the red stand out.

Was the old printer pulling my leg?

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No leg pulling, it works on white or colored stock to bump the color up a little, same as in offset where you drop a screen under a solid to achieve a dense color. A double hit of black should achieve the same result, depends on how much press time you wish to give away. It might we hard to match a red by dropping a yellow under it, because all inks are transparent. I’ve ran yellows and oranges under metallic golds to enhance the color. As with most things we do in printing it depends on the application or what you wish to achieve for a end result. Yes, I’m kind of an old printer, at least it feels that way in the morning.

As chuck the printer already says: to obtain a rich black or any other rich colour, print another colour underneath it. 40 % of cyan, magenta and yellow under a black will give you a nice dense black, put more red or blue in it and you can give your black a blue or red hue. And you will be surprised to see what 100 % yellow or magenta under your gold ink will do. Overprinting with any of the Pantone blacks over the 4-colour black gives nice results as well.

Is this a similar with the concept of an underpainting when using oils?

I would think that is the case. It would be like painting a wall red over a white base, several coats might cover, but if that wall was a dark pink, you might get away with one coat of red and results which match your sample color chip..

I think this is also similar to the concept of 100% Black vs. Rich Black in offset printing.

Face it, in offset, designers always come up with solids that a press with 10 form rollers couldn’t print. You need all the help you can get, 40 thru 60% red, reflex or a build of other colors help under black. It reduces or eliminates roller recovery stripes and lessens the pressman’s bar tab. Thank God I don’t have to fight those wars anymore.