Is it a good idea to “invert” mostly-black screenshots for printing?

I’m working on a book and there are some screenshots I’d like to use as figures. However, due to the topic of the book (retrocomputing), the screenshots are mostly black, with a small handful of bright-colored small things on it. Here’s an example of Space Invaders:

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and here’s another one showing the boot-up screen of a home computer:

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I’m worried that these will look horrible in print, so I’ve been thinking of using a (light) gray background color, and making everything else darker, like in these examples:

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My questions are:

  • Is it even a valid worry that these pictures wouldn’t look good in print?
  • If yes, is this inverted color scheme a good idea in principle?
  • If yes, any tips on improving the result?


My first thought is No. Leave the color as it is. A book is a document, in this case, to explain accurately how graphics were.

Imagine the same case of an astronomy photo. You do not want light gray as a night sky.

The only exception I can think of is if the pages are meant to be printed on a home printer, a student for example. In this case, the savings in the ink usage would be appreciated.

Modern printing systems are pretty competent in reproducing color graphics, including these.

The print system depends on one thing. Budget and amount of units to be printed.

Any discussion on black vs rich black, direct ink, CMYK, spot ink, digital print, Pantone, etc depends on those two variables, and it is out of the scope of this answer.

My recommendation is that you need to talk with a designer to guide you on the specifics of the project.

Source : Link , Question Author : Cactus , Answer Author : Rafael

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