Interesting results can be achieved, and there can be considerable savings when printing only two colors if Duotones are incorporated into grayscale photographs. A Duotone is the process of mixing two colors together within the same photograph in order to increase the tonal range of the picture.

The shadow areas normally carry the darker color of ink and the mid-tone to highlight areas normally carry the lighter color of ink. If a duotone is built correctly, and the correct PMS colors are used, sometimes it is hard to distinguish a two color duotone from a four color photograph.

In the old days of printing (I am talking about only 10 years ago), the creation of duotones was a darkroom technique that was done by “commercial printers”.
Most duotones today are created in Photoshop by a multitude of designers and can produce a very wide range of results. This is because of the numerous settings within Photoshop that can be used. For more information on how to create duotones in Photoshop please click here.

Written by Jay Atkinson
jay@odeecompany.com
The Odee Company