Need help with van son pms oil bassed inks

I purchased a custom PMS ink from Van Son and when I tried to use it on my press it printed darker than the original PMS color I wanted. I tried to use less ink but when I did that, the color was not consistent. When I applied more ink the coverage was consistent but too dark. Does anyone know how I can get an accurate PMS color without mixing tons of inks together. Would mixing white into the PMS give me what I want? The color I was using was green and it looked almost black.

please help

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Don’t worry, this happens all the time. Inks produced today are designed for offset printing. Using them for letterpress will always be darker. There is nothing wrong with the ink. As you gain experience with this, you will learn to compensate (order a lighter shade and manipulate it in order to acheive the color you want).

I end up mixing most of my colors anyway to get it perfect, and I usually do this by adding opaque white (not transparent white). Actually a more accurate statement would be adding the color to the white. You will need a lot of white to cut the color.

I too am interested in hearing how others do this, but this is how I have always taken care of it.

Thanks “WaldwickPrintingCo” for your reply to my post. If you hear anything new or learn of anything, I would love to know.

Not only are today’s inks made for offset (which puts down a much thinner ink layer than letterpress, so the ink pigments are more intense to compensate), but the whole Pantone Matching System is designed for offset rather than letterpress. As Waldwick says, you learn to adjust. Also keep in mind that the inks are basically transparent, so the color of your paper will affect the final appearance of the printed ink.Even the texture makes a difference, some inks will look quite different on coated stock than on uncoated - the substrate reflects light differently. That’s why mixing with opaque white is recommended.

You may also want to see if you can find a local ink company willing to mix a Pantone color for the specific paper you’re using. Provide samples and explain that you’re printing letterpress, not offset.



Thanks as well for you post. Sounds to me like I will need to purchase some Opaque White. If I were to tell you what PMS I’m trying to hit, would you be able to give me some pointers on how to reach that color?

I was told that if order PMS inks ask them to mix it with Opaque White. A lot of ink is mixed with Transparent White. So when you need to adjust you can get there quicker.

So what’s the PMS color you’re trying to match? What paper are you printing on? Using what press?

You’re in the San Francisco area, right? If you want to come down to History Park in San Jose on Dec. 29 to play with ink mixing, contact me at [email protected] and we can make arrangements.



Thanks for the offer but I will be out of the country starting on December 23rd. I’ll let you know what the exact color is tomorrow but the paper I will be using is Cranes Lettra Pearl White.

Thanks again