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Key - both because it"s the plate you line the various other plates with, and also to distinguish it from "Blue", the printer"s term for Cyan.
In printing, the Key plate is the one assigned to the darkest ink, which typically carries the defining facets of photo information.
In concept, the Key plate could be a dark brvery own, or a dark blue, or some other dark ink. I have functioned in cases where a dark ink other than black substituted for it.
All of the oldest pressguys I’ve understand shelp it was Key, because it was the vital to the CMYK procedure.
I am sorry, I cannot agree via the recent answers... david asked about K, in cmyk... it seems to me that if we are stating cyan, magenta, yellow, then the K hregarding be babsence to be continual.. the question didn"t say: "what might the k mean or stand also for in the context of a printing process.. etc...
k might equal key, k might be disputed as the "key" , if you published the K (black ink?) first.. then probably yes, you can usage it a a registration vital.. I am absolutely not an old timer push man.. yet the recent answers are not consistent to the particular question... what then does the C stand also for in cmyk, the suntan ink? yet at leastern we are having fun pointing out this... the present generations of inkjet printers all have actually LK, would you speak to that light crucial, light registration key? k=babsence or at leastern k amounts to the black plate... gain the evening, jim bean
"Kicker" plate is what an old plate retoucher told me many kind of eons ago, CMY being weak without the kick, yet I favor the concept of the k in the letter babsence. More importantly, this is English. In various other nations, is it still CMYK or perform they go by the first letters of their color names?
I do not think that this would be an correct use of "K". If we go earlier to the fundamentals, C, M and Y are the subtrenergetic primaries obtained from the additive primaries R, G, and also B, of which they are the reverse (though not precisely). The key plate is an *added element* with no straight correlates in the additive scenario, whose existence is necessitated by the impurities in the CMY inks and also their incapability to generate, by themselves, a truly dark neutral babsence.
Giving either C or M the moniker "K" in 3-main subtractive settings would certainly recurrent a wildly confutilizing and inproper use of the term: C+M+Y are a non-changeable set, whereas K is the extra aspect included to an essential core.
I"ve always operated on the expertise that K stood for Key. Although I have the right to view exactly how the K in Babsence works for some world.
Back before Al Gore created the internet and throughout the time of John Yule sleek the CMYK process, the K in shade printing stood for the key line and also then its meaning relocated toward babsence.
Here in Brazil is CMYK allright, and "K" is known as the "key" plate. At least that"s how push people teach in the graphics art colleges roughly right here.

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K for black indicates crucial. It is an old letterpush term. Back when a complete selection babsence (not a skeleton black) was offered, the babsence was even more important and also carried the majority of of the information in the photo.