Printing type with thin ornaments in light gray: tints of black or spot gray?

I will be printing invitations with body text set in 14pt Snell Roundhand Bold which has “pen strokes” that end with very thin ornaments.

The text needs to be light gray and, if I understand correctly, this basically gives me only two options:

  1. Use a low tint percentage of K100 or just a low K value, like K25. (Both options produce equivalent results.)
  2. Use a light gray spot ink at 100%.

I am concerned that the first option will result in gaps in the thin strokes as the printer will space out the black dots to create the illusion of gray. Worst case scenario, the thin ornaments will not be reproduced at all. (I’m not sure what the correct technical term for this kind of dot spacing is. I saw in another post someone refer to it as “open raster.”)

The second option will probably give me the best results, but I am not sure if the printing will be offset or digital. Do I understand correctly that digital printers do not use spot colors?

What would be my safest option?



Having thin lines in a percentage of black can lead to the lines looking fragmented. Very thin lines might even disappear as they can end up between halftone dots.

I generally would advise against having small text in anything other than 100% of an ink. Printing with a gray spot color (often Pantone) at 100% would not have this problem.

Here is a preview of how small text could look like when offset printed in 25% black and 100% Pantone Cool Gray 2:

Since you are making invitations, which are often made in relatively modest amounts, it doesn’t sound like offset printing is an economic possibility. My guess is that you will end up doing the prints digitally.

In digital print the screening is often different and you will often see some kind of stochastic screen which has smaller dots in a random pattern. This might look better. Since digital print doesn’t require making printing plates etc. you can ask your print provider for a test print to check out how it looks.

My personal opinion

I actually often see the use of gray script fonts on wedding invitations and similar. People seem to feel that it gives an authentic look. The thing is though, that back in the time were these kind of fonts come from, I doubt that you would see gray text very often. Most (if not all) handwritten documents I have seen from “the old days” have black text.

If you are going for an authentic/noble/vintage feeling, I think you should make the text 100% black. One of the ideas with having fonts with different weights is to enable you to change the perceived tone of the text by choosing between Light, Regular, Bold etc.

Source : Link , Question Author : glitchform , Answer Author : Wolff

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