TKs Korner Masthead

June 2024

Ink Burnout, Chemical Burn, or UV Burn

Why do I have a hard time matching colors on related print pieces?

What can I do to manage this better and receive a more satisfying printed outcome?

These are great questions and the answers may be related to...

In this issue, let me give you the WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and HOW about burnout, like:

WHO does this happen to?

WHAT the heck is going on?

WHY do some PMS colors fade prematurely?

WHEN does burnout happen?

WHICH of the 15 base colors are most likely to be affected?

HOW do you prevent this from happening?

WHO DOES THIS HAPPEN TO AND WHAT KINDS OF PROJECTS DOES IT HAPPEN ON? Some of my clients’ projects have suffered consequences of ink burnout depending on the PMS colors used, color percentages, and added coatings like aqueous, UV, or laminations.

WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? (Well, I needed a “What” for my story...)

WHY DO SOME PMS COLORS FADE, BUT OTHERS KEEP THEIR HUE? Recently during the bidding stage of a project, I asked a client whether we needed to match any paper types or PMS ink colors to others in their family of pieces. The client said, “no”. While we were on press, however, they brought in a prior piece from another printer. We found that some of the PMS ink colors DID NOT match the PMS book, nor did they match the piece we were currently running (which DID match the PMS book). The reason for the variation—their earlier piece had burned out significantly.

The client decided to have us match the previously printed piece. So we used the same paper, ink, and aqueous coating. Although the new piece differs from the company color palette and the PMS book, now all related pieces match each other.

WHEN DOES INK BURNOUT HAPPEN? Burnout occurs when certain PMS colors are exposed to chemicals, called amines, in aqueous or UV coatings. PMS colors are made up of a combination of base colors. Those 15 base colors make up all the colors in the entire PMS book.

WHICH 7 OF THE 15 BASE COLORS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED AND PRONE TO BURNOUT? The 7 colors are Warm Red, Rhodamine Red, 032 Red, Reflex Blue, Violet, Purple, and 072 Blue.

HOW DO I PREVENT BURNOUT FROM HAPPENING? On aqueous or UV-coated jobs, you can use an HP (high performance) ink. In some cases, HP colors can appear dirtier, weaker, or flatter in hue than normal PMS colors. The difference is that specialized pigments are used to make the HP ink resistant to burnout. (HP inks that contain more Pantone Black base color match PMS colors better than those that contain more Transparent White base color.) To get an idea of how much color variation could occur in the inks you want to use, you can request an ink drawdown prior to your piece running on press.

WHAT I NEED TO REMEMBER? (I snuck in another one for you here.) It is very important to remember the 7 sensitive base colors. If your PMS colors contain any of those 7 – and you want to match a family of pieces – be sure to take note of the percentages of these colors and the types of coatings you use. It could mean the difference between completing a very successful project and having one where colors don’t match.

HOW CAN I LEARN MORE – FROM TK OF COURSE?! If you would like to learn more about ink burnout, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you would like to see the burnout samples, please contact me at or call me at 612-760-3700.

Before we go...

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email.

As always, I will do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the best value for every marketing dollar you invest.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

Referrals are greatly appreciated. If you know someone I can help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!


Tom Kubinski

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: 612-278-1568
Cell: 612-760-3700


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Did you miss an issue of TK's Korner? Click below to view!

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Clear Dry Ink
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital Printing - Variable Data or Business Development
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour—Everything you wanted to know
Marketing More Effectively
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper and Substrate
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Changes, Mailing Requirements & Rates
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Shapco Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?



Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Did you miss an issue
of TK's Korner?
Click to view!