When printing to paper, there are essentially two print methods. Digital and Offset. The two main colour systems used in printing are CMYK and the Pantone™ colour matching system. At times combination of both are used.

Offset Printing
This method is where the image is transferred (offset) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then onto the printing surface. Because the rubber blanket conforms to the print surface, it produces exceptionally high quality images and type. It's ideal for magazines, brochures, business cards etc: It provides the best result.

Digital Printing
This method requires no plates, and is ideal for short run work or where time is critical. It's a little like putting something through a photocopier. Digital printing has evolved significantly over the last ten years and some equipment produces excellent results. There are however some limitations in terms of stock and paper weight restrictions. Full colour business cards may also have a blotchy appearance.

Print Using CMYK
Whenever a document is printed offset or digtal, they use CMYK. (Cyan, Magenta Yellow & Black) With these four colours, a wide gamut of colours are produced.


Pantone™ Colours
The Pantone™ colour matching system is arguably more consistent between print runs and hence why it is used by corporates or businsesses where colour consistency is critical. For example, if you are producing business cards, letterheads, presentation folders etc:, Pantone™ delivers much more accuracy than CMYK.

Factors Effecting Colour
There are many factors that can effect the colour of your work. For example paper stock, how quickly it dries, when the equipment was last serviced as well as the experience of the press operator.

Many print shops now use software to decide the colour output as apposed to by sight. This method has become more common with what we refer to as bulk run work.

Screen Colours V Printed Products
Often people will ask, will my products look like what I am seeing on the screen? However, digital screens (LCD or LED) are poor replicators of colour. Infact, the old bulky analogue screens represented colour much, much better.

The other factor and probably more important is that evey screen used is calibrated differently. Some have their screen setting set to play games, others to view internet movies etc: Therefore the only way to be sure is to get a press proof. Typically these start at about $50.00 and varies on the size of the job. Whenever we produce anything over $800.00, we highly recommend it.

What Is Bulk Run Printing?
This is where many cards cards are produced together or otherwise referred to as "ganged up" or "bulk run." By printing this way, the cost of the plates and machine time are shared by many people. For example, 40 business cards can be placed on a single A2 sheet. This is a great way to produce cheap cards, however done incorrectly, it has a number of inherent problems which include poor re-production between print runs and generally poor appearance. Press operators (who amongst other things can control colour output on the press) must make decisions to get the best result they can. Typically, the press itself can be manipulated to increase or reduce any one of the colours in the CMYK range but an increase in yellow to fix the appearance of one card may have a negative impact on the others. Therefore averages are used and in some cases, software programs control the output. This is the reason why your cards are likely to have different shades every time you print. For example, today your cards may be surrounded with cards that have solid black and next time they may be surrounded with solid yellow. If they try to up the yellow, it increase that colour on all cards in the same line. Therefore, where you requested 50% yellow on your artwork may appear to be 60%.

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