To communicate more effectively with your print and digital suppliers, we recommend you follow these suggestions:
1. Consider the Substrate – Remember that the substrate you are printing on – for most of us that’s paper – can significantly change how ink colors are perceived when printed. The amount of brightness and whiteness plays a role in color perception, as does the texture and the amount of ink holdout (how much the ink “sits up” on the sheet). This is particularly challenging when reprinting a project where the previous book was printed by a different vendor on different paper.
2. Be Specific – Instead of saying that you expect the colors to “pop,” be more specific. Explain that you want a brighter yellow or less red.
3. Accuracy vs. Attractiveness – Consider both the accuracy of the color and how attractive the printed piece looks. A print job can be very accurate, matching the proof or sample – but still does not show the printed subject at its best.
4. Describe the Desired Effect – Explain the desired effect to your supplier, not how to get there. When printing full-color process, if you would like the sky to be bluer, don’t say, “Add more blue.” Full-color printing works with subtractive colors – meaning that one color may be subdued to make another color more dominant.
5. Provide Samples – One way to communicate your desired color is to provide a printed sample. However, if you are providing a sample to match to the printed piece and have selected a PMS color, tell which one to use as the guide. Also, be aware that samples fade, so make sure it is what you want.
6. Have a Talk With Your Print Provider – Maybe this should be moved to number one on this short list. Most print providers have a wealth of information ready to share with you that can be invaluable when designing your piece for print or digital. Having a conversation that centers on what you’re looking for in your design can help you get exactly what you were expecting.