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In offset printing, a solid colour refers to an area of uniform, solid colour. When you print a document using the offset printing technique, the inks are transferred to a printing plate and then transferred to the paper.

In the case of a solid colour, a single ink colour is used to completely fill a specific area, without any gradation or variation in hue. This creates a smooth, uniform appearance. Solids are commonly used for elements such as backgrounds, text areas or simple shapes. The use of solids in offset printing produces bright, even colours. Pantone inks are used, which are pre-mixed to obtain precise, consistent colours. This guarantees faithful reproduction of the desired colour.

Why use a solid colour?

Solid colour is a technique used in offset printing when you want a colour to fill a large area evenly. This means that a single ink colour is used without any gradation or variation in hue. This method is often used when the desired colour does not exist in the standard paper catalogues.

The use of a solid colour can also be used to support or enhance other special finishes such as embossing or neutral debossing. By creating a uniform, solid surface, solid printing enhances these finishes and creates a striking visual contrast.

In addition, solid colours can be used to add a distinctive design touch to a project. However, it is often preferable to give free rein to the expression of the substrate (paper), particularly with some of our special papers. This adds authenticity and highlights the unique characteristics of the substrate itself.

When delivering your graphic design, it is important to note that the use of a solid colour requires careful preparation of the print files. Solid areas must be correctly defined and separated from other elements of the design to ensure that the ink is applied evenly and without smearing. The inks used for solid colours are Pantone inks, which are pre-mixed to obtain precise and consistent shades.

In short, solid offset printing is a technique used to fill a large surface with a uniform colour. It is used to obtain specific shades not available in standard paper catalogues, to support other special finishes or to add a unique design touch.

Solid & Art

The use of solid colours as an artistic technique dates back to several important artistic movements. Here are some of the earliest painters known to have used the solid colour technique in their work:

  • Mark Rothko (1903-1970): Rothko is considered one of the leading exponents of Abstract Expressionism. He is famous for his paintings, which are composed of large areas of vibrant, intense colour, which are superimposed on each other in flat areas delimited by blurred outlines.

  • Barnett Newman (1905-1970): Newman was an American artist associated with Abstract Expressionism. He is best known for his monumental canvases in which vertical bands of colour, often in solids, dominate the composition. His works seek an intense and contemplative experience of colour.

  • Piet Mondrian (1872-1944): Mondrian was a Dutch painter who played a crucial role in the development of the De Stijl movement. His abstract paintings are characterised by geometric arrangements of flat primary colours (red, yellow, blue) and rectilinear shapes, creating a pure visual language.

  • Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935): Malevich was a Russian artist and one of the leading exponents of the Suprematist movement. He is famous for his painting “Black Square on a White Background” (1915), in which a uniform black area occupies the entire canvas. This work symbolises Malevich’s quest to achieve the pure essence of art.

These artists contributed to the development of abstract art and used solid colours as a means of simplifying form and exploring the expressive power of colour. Their work influenced many later artists and continues to inspire contemporary artistic practice.

Other artists, such as Gauguin and Cézanne, also expressed an individualised touch in solid colours, without abandoning the chromatic fragmentation and a certain modulation already emphasised by Titian and, with an entirely new emphasis, by the Impressionists, in favour, this time, of “atmospheric” values. The cubists, for their part, constructed their paintings in large areas, as did Modigliani, Matisse, Kandinsky and the geometric abstract painters. Today, minimal art uses this process to demonstrate its “elementary” nature.