Emulating a gold effect in cmyk

Gold foils and gold metallic inks are a great ways to embellish your design, but we are often asked the best way to emulate a gold effect using cmyk.

A good value for achieving something that looks kind of like a gold colour is C0 M17 Y74 K17. The result is never going to be anything as glitzy as using a gold foil, but there are a couple of tricks you can use to make your design really shine.

cmyk printed gold

One thing we’ve noticed when printing photographs of gold items, is that they look pretty realistic – jewellery looks fantastic when printed in cmyk, so we can utilise this idea to bring some life into your gold coloured text or other objects.

Let’s say you have some text and you want it to look gold. Rather than giving it a solid fill of C0 M17 Y74 K17, fill it with an image. Search the web or your favourite stock photo collection for a patch of gold that suits what you have in mind, and use this to fill your letters (or any other object). Depending on the effect you want, you can find really glitzy gold sample images or more subtle ones. Below are some examples of two from either extremes of glitzy and subtle.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind that your gold effect will always look a little better when printed on a gloss paper stock rather than a matt or uncoated papers tock. Ink goes a little flat on uncoated stock so the gold effect will naturally shine just a little more on a glossy stock.