Have you ever had a client ask you why their marketing material hasn’t printed the colour they requested?
Their first reaction is normally to point the finger in the direction of the designer, and here I explain how printing can go wrong.
In one instance they’re absolutely correct to place blame upon the designer, because chance are they haven’t been educated how different paper stocks produce different tones from exactly the same colour of ink. Graphic designers, amongst many other professions, take on the role of teacher to give their client an understanding of critical factors such as this one.
Colour control is important even when colour ink isn’t used. A black ink can appear to contain colour when printed on a colour substrate.
Remember, the grade, grain and colour of paper used affects the colour of the ink.
Also, the light source under which you’re looking at the printed product can dramatically affect the colour tone. It reminds me of how supermarkets distort the colour of their meat displays with different lighting, giving it a fresher appearance.
If you select a colour from a colour swatch book and ask 100 printers to print it, you could well get 100 different tones. If you don’t have a swatch book and are thinking of picking one up, here are some useful pointers for before you buy PANTONE colour guides.
Always, always ask your printer for a proof before signing-off on your print job. Make it a hard copy (or digital proof) too, which should usually be included in the price of the project. A PDF proof will not show you the results of how your colour prints.
Have you always been happy with the colour of your print material?