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Printed Stationery: Colour query

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by shaw-shots, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. shaw-shots

    shaw-shots New Member

    Please could someone advise.

    I have rebranded a company and designed and ordered to print their business stationery etc.. this is something I have done many times.

    I use a PC and Adobe InDesign - The links I have used for all stationery belong to the same logo which is a tiff and everything is CYMK and I also exported all files as high quality pdfs.

    The company wished to have a different weight in paper .. opting for highter quality letterhead than compliment slips.

    Unfortunately, all stationery delivery has a distinct colour variation - the business cards show the correct colour and the letterhead and compliments are different from each other.

    The compliment slips - the lower quality paper actually looks bolder then the letterhead which is the high quality paper.

    The print company are saying it is due to the difference in papers ... but I just can't believe that. Isn't a CMYK colour the same no matter what you print on?

    I have never came across this problem before and therefore baffled and just wanted some clarification from the other which are in the know.

    Many thanks
  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    With CMYK there are no guarantees really, unlike with spot colours. Printing the same CMYK PDF file with 10 different full colour printers will more than likely return 10 slightly varying results, this is down to a whole host of reasons, press set up, etc.

    I would expect consistency if you are having a number of items printed by the same printer, although there can be an element of colour difference when using different stock. For example I would expect a slight difference in colour between a coated and uncoated stock, ink tends to print darker on uncoated bond and maybe that is the issue you have, also were the business cards laminated which can also affect the final colour.

    Is it possible that your chosen print company outsource and your items were printed by different printers, hence the colour variation, just a thought. I would certainly expect colour match between the comps and letterheads.

    Hope that helps.
  3. LocalBizPrint

    LocalBizPrint New Member

    My advice if you want consistent colours is to use spot colours. When printing spot colours it only takes a few printed sheets until the full (actual) colour is achieved, where as cmyk you can be juggling the colour density throughout the entire print job just too try and keep it consistent and get it right.

    Also another factor is that if your letterheads were printed on one run, the CMYK values on the press duck settings (flow off ink) may have been different to the settings on the compliment slips run and same again for the business cards.

    Another benefit with spot colours it could be cheaper. We supply Ford with their printed stationery and they use a Blue Pantone colour for their logo's and black text for their writing. This only requires 2 plates to be made for single sided and 4 plates for double sided. CMYK uses 4 plates for single sided and 8 plates for double sided*.

    *Depending on how the job is laid out.
  4. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Lower quality paper - which I think you mean by offset paper? This can have more saturation, so colours literally saturate the paper, and this can affect the colour. As for higher quality paper - I think you mean matt paper or something? This has less satuartion so the colour doesn't saturate the paper.

    These two variations in saturation absolutely 100% affects the colour output - and in my opinion the printers should have know this and adjusted for it!

    As they are on 2 different stocks of paper - I can only think maybe the colours differ so much as I think perhaps the Compliment Slips could have been printed on a digital printing device.

    If you outlined your text before sending - which is a practice that is as outdated as the dinosaurs! Then small text that is outlined at around below 8pt can appear slightly bolder. As outlining text causes the font to lose it's "hinting" which is "intelligence" programmed into the font to output at smaller sizes. Once the "hinting" is lost, due to outlining, this can be heavily reflected in lower resolution output devices, such as commercial digital printers, as they have nowhere near the resolution that a litho press can have.

    There's a lot of mitigating factors into why this may have happened. But I think your first call should be to the printers (maybe even drop into them?) and talk about what workflow they used in both printing and how to avoid this issue in the future.

    Good luck
  5. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    If they are printed CMYK at the same printers and both on offset stock you should get no discernible difference. As Boss says there will be a difference between coated and uncoated stock, and even different stocks. But if a printer is supplying say an 100gsm and 120gsm then they should really use a matching stock.
    If you do use Pantone colours (and good printers!) then there should be no discernible difference.

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