How paper affects the colour of your prints

print management

Have you ever had something printed only to find the final product isn’t quite the colour you expected? A likely cause is the paper used.

Different stocks produce different colours when using the exact same colour ink. If you’re familiar with Pantone colours at all you’ve probably noticed there are seemingly multiple instances of the same colour. 200u, 200m, 200c etc.

On screen these all look the same, on paper these colours will be printed on un-coated, matte and coated stock respectively and produce variations of colours despite the exact same ink being used. This is due to the different absorbent properties of the stock.

Additionally, the light under which you view your prints also affects the colour you see. Next time you visit the supermarket take a look in the meat section, while the store itself will most likely be flooded with energy efficient fluorescent lights, the meat section almost certainly will not.

Fluorescent lights emit high levels of green and yellow which when combined with the red of your potential dinner cause the meat to look brown while the fat will look yellow. Appetizing, no?

The same applies to paper. Many printers provide PDF proofs which are fine for confirming the layout and trim marks of your project, but not the colour.

Just to be safe…

To be sure that your final product will live up to your expectations, ask your printer for a digital proof before signing off.