Design 101: Know Your Print, Know Your Colours
These days, crafting of a successful and satisfying business aesthetic relies just as much on the quality of print as it does on branding and logo design. And when it comes to print, it’s all about the colour.
Here’s some advice on acquiring the technical knowhow needed to ensure consistent quality in print.
Colour to print: a heavy loss
Behold the print paradox: colours on screen and colours on paper are always different. Inevitably something will be added or taken away in the transition from digital to physical; knowing how this transition works and, more importantly, how to compensate for it, is what guarantees consistent quality in your printed materials.
As a client, the best thing to do is to make sure that your designer is aware of this. Maybe even ask them the question direct: How will the colours look when this is in print?
Know your paper
Glossy, silk coated, uncoated. What type of paper do you want? Ink sits on glossy or silk coated paper; whilst being absorbed into uncoated paper. This means that you’re getting a distinctly different finish with each option. With glossy and silk coated there will be more of a ‘pop’ to the text — more vibrancy and sharpness; the same image on uncoated paper will look a little more understated and can sometimes appear muddied (although the muddied look tends to come with off-white stock).
Uncoated can often be the more expensive option. However, it offers the potential of a more tactile, trendy, and up-market finish, which can be worth the price if the budget can stand it. On a technical note, some digital presses do not guarantee the uncoated ‘sunk-in’ look. To be safe, always try to get samples printed before going ahead with any design.
Visit your local printer
Though I probably shouldn’t say this, visiting a printer is far more rewarding than visiting a design studio. You’ll learn a lot and it will make you more savvy when it comes to the print aspects of marketing.
The mystical Pantone® book
The designer’s bible – an invaluable little book that essentially shows you the difference between colours as they appear on screen and on a page. It shows you what is lost in the printing process, and so you can adapt your designs to counter it.
A Pantone® book will guide you through the colour minefield. And though primarily a designer’s tool, it helps for clients to be aware of their existence. That way, if you ever pay a visit to your designer’s studio, you can sneak a glance at their bookshelf to check. Pantone® book? Thumbs up. No Pantone® book? Google: ‘Local graphic designers’.
Remember the little things
All said and done, printing is only a single aspect of a multi-layered process, but it’s an important one that’s often overlooked by new designers. As a client it pays to be aware of the complexities of colour in print. This allows you to have more of an input in the aesthetic direction of your marketing.
Want to learn more about enhancing your marketing through colour and print? Get in touch today for a chat!