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What’s PMS, 4/4, 4/1 , 4/0, 1/1, 1/0 in Printing

Time: 2024-01-22 Hits: 114

In the world of printing, there are various specifications and terms used to describe different printing techniques. One such terminology is the use of abbreviations and numbers to represent the colors and printing options available.

4/4 vs 4/1 vs 4/0 in printing

As a professional in the printing industry, I often come across various terminologies and abbreviations that can be confusing for those who are not familiar with the field. In this article, we will explore the meanings behind some of these terms, specifically PMS, 4/4, 4/1, 4/0, 1/1, and 1/0.

Before diving into the specifics of these printing terminologies, let’s start with a brief overview of the printing process itself. Printing is a method of reproducing text and images onto paper or other materials using ink or toner. There are various techniques and technologies involved in printing, each with its own advantages and limitations. Understanding the different printing options available can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your printing needs.

What’s PMS in Printing

pms printingPMS stands for Pantone Matching System, also known as spot color printing, which is a standardized color matching system widely used in the printing industry. It allows printers to match colors precisely, ensuring consistency across different print runs and materials. PMS colors are created by mixing a specific combination of base inks, resulting in an extensive range of vibrant and accurate colors.


Before we delve into the specific codes and combinations, it is important to understand the concept of the number and “/”.

The number before the “/” only represents the ink on the front or side of the paper. The number after the “/” represents the ink on the back or second side of the paper.

Also, when these terms are expressed verbally, “/” is read as “end”. Thus, 4/4 translates to “four to four,” 4/1 translates to “four to one,” and 4/0 translates to “four to zero.”

What’s 4/4 in Printing

4/4 printingThe term “4/4” refers to four-color printing, also known as CMYK printing. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black), which are the four primary colors used in the printing process. Each color is represented by a separate plate, and when combined, they create a full-color image.

Because 4 color printing use four color ink, also called CMYK printing. So 4/4 ( four over four) means side one and side two are both with CMYK printing.

4/4 printing allows for a wide range of colors and is commonly used for vibrant and detailed print projects such as books, childrens books,brochures, magazines, and catalogs.

What’s 4/1 in Printing

4/1 printingWhen we talk about “4/1” in printing, it means that one side of the printed material will be in full color (4/c), while the other side will be printed in a single color (1/c).

Usually, “1” means single black ink, unless a specific color is noted after the “1”, we generally default that the “1” refers to black ink. However, for clarity’s sake, it’s best to list the colors by name, even if the color is black. For example, 4/1 PMS 486 Red.

4/1 is often used in situations where one side of the print needs to be eye-catching and vibrant, while the other side requires minimal color or is intended for text-only content. For example, a flyer promoting a sale may have colorful images on one side and pricing details in black and white on the other side.

What’s 4/0 in Printing

4/0 printingIn contrast to the previous example, “4/0” printing refers to full-color printing on one side of the material, while the other side remains unprinted or blank.

This option is commonly used for items like book covers, postcards or business cards. where the front side is designed with vivid colors and graphics, while the back side is left blank for personalization or writing space. 4/0 printing is a cost-effective choice for promotional materials that do not require printing on both sides.

What’s 1/1 in Printing

1/1 printingWhen we mention “1/1” in the context of printing, it means that both sides of the printed material will be in a single color. This type of printing is often referred to as black and white printing or grayscale printing. But, it is also can be any PMS spot color.

It is an economical choice for projects that do not require color, such as newsletters, reports, or legal documents. While black is the most common color used in 1/1 printing, it is possible to use other colors as well, depending on the desired effect.

What’s 1/0 in Printing

1/0 printingLastly, “1/0” printing stands for one side of the printed material being in a single color, while the other side remains unprinted or blank. This option is similar to 4/0 printing, but with only one color instead of full color. It is often used for items like letterheads or envelopes, where the focus is on branding and simplicity. 1/0 printing provides a clean and professional look while keeping the printing costs at a minimum.

Less common names are 2/2 and 2/1, which are slightly different color names than the others.

“2” can be two PMS spot ink colors or one PMS spot ink color and black.

Likewise, “1” can be black or one of the PMS spot color.

Thus, using a 2/2 or 2/1 name would need all corresponding colors to be clearly listed. “2/2”, “2/1” often used for items like business cards, game cards, etc.

What’s 4/0/0/4 or 4/1/0/4 in Printing

The terms 4/0/0/4 or 4/1/0/4 in printing refer to the number of colors used on each side of a printed material.

4/0/0/4, means the first number “4” represents four color printing on the front outside of the material. The second and third number “0” represents no color printing on the front inside and back inside. The last number “4” represents four color printing on the back outside of the material. For example, cover 4/0/0/4 means four colors on the front and back outside cover, and no color printing on front and back inside cover.

4/1/0/4 means four color printing on the front, one color on the front inside, no color printing on the back inside (usually single black or one PMS color), and 4 color printing printing on back outside.

This technique is often used for materials such as dust jackets, book covers, marketing material, etc. that require multiple colors throughout the document.

Difference between 4/4 and 4/0

The main difference between 4/4 and 4/0 printing lies in the presence or absence of color on both sides. 4/4 printing utilizes color on both sides, providing a visually rich and vibrant result. On the other hand, 4/0 printing only has color on one side, while the other side remains in black and white. The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements of your project, such as budget, desired visual impact, and the need for color.

Difference between 4/4 and 4/1

The difference between 4/4 and 4/1 printing lies in the number of colors used on one side. 4/4 printing utilizes full color (CMYK) on both sides, creating a visually appealing result. On the other hand, 4/1 printing uses full color on one side and just one color on the other side. This allows for cost savings while still maintaining a high-quality design. The choice between the two depends on the desired visual impact, budget, and the importance of having color on both sides.

Pros and Cons of PMS and 4C in Printing

Now that we have explored the different printing combinations, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of using PMS and 4C printing techniques. PMS printing offers precise color matching and consistency, making it ideal for branding purposes. However, it can be more expensive and limited in color options compared to 4C printing.

On the other hand, 4C printing provides a wide range of colors and is cost-effective for large print runs. But, achieving exact color accuracy can be challenging, and it may not be suitable for projects requiring precise color matching.

pms printing vs four-color printing

Price Comparison

Now that we have discussed the various printing options and their significance, let’s briefly touch upon the price comparison between these different techniques. The cost of printing can vary depending on factors such as the number of colors used, the type of material, the printing volume, and the complexity of the design.

Generally, full-color printing options, such as 4/4 or 4/1, tend to be more expensive compared to single-color options, such as 1/1 or 1/0. However, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your project and consult with printing professionals to get an accurate cost estimate.

We hope that the explanations of “PMS”, “4/4”, “4/1”, “4/0” etc. provided above are useful to you and provide some inspiration on your project printing.

Custom Printing at BookPrintingChina

If you are looking for high-quality custom printing services, look no further than BookPrintingChina. With 25+ years of experience in the industry, we offer a wide range of printing options to cater to your specific needs. Whether you require 4/4 printing, 4/1 printing, or any other combination, we can assist you in bringing your print projects to life.

Our expertise and attention to detail ensure exceptional results, and ourcommitment to customer satisfaction (check reviews on trustpilot) sets us apart from the competition. Contact BookPrintingChina today for all your custom printing requirements.

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