Highlight Color

Choosing the Right Highlight Color

There's Black in my Highlight Color!

  1. In order to obtain the best color appearance and in order to avoid registration issues, Xerox recommends that highlight color not be mixed with black for type, line, or fill.
  2. The Highlight Color Printers “think” in the RGB color space. Documents created in the CMYK color space are translated for the printer into RGB color space, frequently resulting in mixing of black and HLC toners.
  3. Your computer screen uses a different technology to produce color than the printer does, so if you want a certain color or hue for your document, experiment with the printer itself. Use your computer screen as a first step to create a roughly-right document, but don’t rely solely upon how your document looks on the screen.
  4. Print the tables from step 9 of this document on the Highlight Color Printer that will be used for the final printing of this document, and use them to fine-tune the highlight color values for your document.
  5. When creating your Highlight Color document, choose whether your working highlight color will be red, or green, or blue. Then for the rest of the document-creation process, stick with that color, and in the color management chart, assign it a value of 255. A value lower than 255 will result in the addition of black to the type, line, or fill with that value.
  6. While maintaining a value of 255 for the highlight color, you control color saturation by adding equal amounts of the other two colors. Adding unequal amounts of the other color values causes a color value shift which makes it harder to see what the print output will look like.
  7. Example: I’ve used red as my highlight color. You can use red, green, or blue, whatever suits you. If you were to use Red as the highlight color for the document creation process, remembering that you’ll be mapping the highlight color to whatever color you’ve loaded into the printer,

    R:255 G:120 B:120 is a valid value.

    R:235 G:120 B:120 will result in black being added to the highlight color.

    R: 255 G:120 B:230 will cause a color value shift on your document, making it more difficult for you to see how light the final hue will look on the printed document.
  8. Although it would be handy if the highlight color you're using to create your document were the same as the highlight color you'll load into your printer, it's very unlikely that they will be the same. Don't be tempted to make the colors on your screen match the colors you want on your final printed document. You'll end up with a muddy mixture of black and highlight color. If you don't believe me now, you'll learn that the best way to get the best colors is to follow step 4… really!
  9. View the print output under the same kind of light that you believe your readers will use to view their copies of the document. (Use the analogy of a make-up mirror. You apply different make-up for stage lighting than you would for subdued lighting, and that might make the difference between acceptable and unacceptable output.)
  10. Click on this link to download a Highlight Color testing document. It's a Word document set up to be printed to your Highlight Color Printer on 11 x 17" paper.

    Use it to calibrate the color and gray values for fonts, backgrounds, graphics, and watermarks.

There's Highlight Color in my Black!

  1. Blacks or grays must be made up of equal parts of Red, Green, and Blue. If the number values are unequal, the interpreter will add color to the print output.
  2. The number values for the Red, Green, and Blue components range from 0 - 255. An RGB value matrix of 0, 0, 0 will print black, and and an RGB value matrix of 255, 255, 255 is white.

Created by Norman A. Teck
March 1, 2008