The book certainly does accomplish the goal of creating science out of guess work and is a useful and meticulously organized print tool. It allows printers to preview the overprint characteristics of colors before even inking up, and gives designers working in spot color a real life print specimen in which to gauge overprint effects. Even today, this simply can’t be done digitally. The book features eleven basic colors from which, when grouped in various combinations of tricolor sets, produce hundreds of secondary colors. Color By Overprinting is organized in an index of colors of warm, intermediate, and cool color groups. Page by page, each color group is demonstrated with overprints of all possible combinations of the eleven basic colors.
Between the artist and his or her paper or canvas there is always a tool of some sort. Cooke writes, “If we have made mistakes, with all our miraculous inventions, perhaps the greatest has been a preoccupation with facsimile reproduction. In effort to match, down to the most subtle shade… color printing has channeled itself down a dead end alley. Too many printers, engravers, and artists have lost sight of the simple fact that what pleases the eye may not please the soul of the technician, or vice versa.”