3 Tips for Better Color-Critical Printing
Some jobs demand impeccable color matching. We call this color-critical printing. It’s a precise science because there are so many ways that color matches can go wrong. Things like lamination, specialty coatings, textures, uv, gloss finishes and textured stock can completely change the end results. It’s important to think through the entire printing process to ensure the best results.
The color experts on our Intelligencer staff, Joe Schott and Don Richardson, have decades of experience helping match color with exacting print and catalog clients including Armstrong World Industries, Bloomingdales, J. Crew, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Joe and Don know that top-of-the line presses are not enough to produce flawless results. You’ll need more from your commercial printer to get perfect results.
We asked experts Joe and Don to share their top tips for better color critical color printing.
Joe’s #1 Tip: DESIGN FOR YOUR MEDIUM
There are so many things that can affect color matches. Will you print on coated paper? Specialty paper? High gloss? Want to use textured printing? Embossing? Debossing? Even the types of inks you use and which type of printing process you’ll employ will affect color in commercial printing. I strongly encourage our clients to talk with us at the beginning of the process to get a better understanding of how printing processes, coatings and substrates interact. We can help design and print professionals predict how each type of paper or board will hold color. Even things like UV coating and film laminate can alter color reproduction. If you don’t account for these kinds of coatings beforehand, it’s difficult to accurately predict the end result.
With all this in mind, we recommend you design for a specific substrate and a specific printing process. The most efficient time to solve color problems is during the design process. If you are super concerned about the way your design will reproduce on an unusual substrate, I recommend doing a production press test. No proofing device can perfectly simulate the actual lithographic printing reproduction process. Production press tests can be especially helpful when printing colored and textured papers, foils and synthetic substrates.
Don’s #1 Tip: Don’t discount metamerism
We’ve all experienced the effects of metamerism. Maybe you’ve picked up a paint swatch at the store and hated it when you looked at it again at home. Have you ever thought a shirt looked great in the store, and then wondered why it looked so different once you put it on? Metamerism is the term we use to describe a color’s ability to appear differently, not only under different lights, but also next to different colors. For example, if you are wearing red while proofing color, the red in the shirt or blouse may bounce off the printed piece, affecting your perception of color. The colors of walls, rugs, surfaces or clothes can bounce color onto the printed piece or otherwise affect how you perceive color. The bottom line is that
Remember this dress? It was a social media sensation in 2014 as people argued whether it was blue and black or white and gold. Either way, it’s a great example of the powers of metamerism.
Many outside factors can influence color and affect the end printed product. Control as many factors as you can to get the best results. We recommend that every person checking color on a print job does so in the same environment, in the same way, to prevent metamerism from affecting our eye and our judgement. The ideal environment for print checks and color proofs is one where walls and surrounding services are neutral gray and the lighting is like natural day light.
While there’s no one printing or production method that is best for every job, some commerical printing processes tend to produce better results than others. When you need impeccable matches on colors and need to consistently replicate rich, vivid colors, it’s time to use top-of-the-line color management technology, like our new Man Roland 8/C Perfecting Sheet Fed Press. The new Manroland Hiprint 700 press with InlineColorPilot Plus system maintains color quality controls to Process Standards ISO 12647-2, a very demanding and highly selective color standard. And in case you’re wondering who can help you access this kind of elite printing quality, Intelligencer is one of the only facilities in North America using this type of color management technology combined with simultaneous plate loading (SPL), in-line registration controls and quick change features.
Joe and Don agree: Don’t expect first-rate results from second-rate printing equipment.
Want to talk to Joe or Don? Contact them directly!
Joe Schott, VP of Operations, email@example.comDon Richardson, Pre-press and Press Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Intelligencer became one of the oldest printing companies in North America by constantly improving and innovating printing, direct mail, and distribution services. We don’t rest on our 200 years of experience. Intelligencer continually pushes the boundaries of technology to provide the latest advances in the art and science of printing. It’s no wonder we’re the preferred print supplier for so many Fortune 500 companies throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. If you’d like to find out how Intelligencer can help your business, contact us for a free consultation today.