3 Steps to Making A Colorful Impact

Did you know that, according to CCI Inc., consumers make a subconscious judgment about people, their environment, or products within 90 seconds of viewing and that between 62% and 90% of their decision-making is based on color alone? A University of Loyola, Maryland study found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color is power! According to the American Psychological Association, by hanging an extra “tag” of data on visual scenes, color helps people to process and store images more efficiently than black-and-white. As a result, color impresses images more deeply into people’s memories.

Consider the current trend toward retro packaging. Major brands, including Cheerios to Skippy, Doritos, and Tide, are throwing back to the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 40’s with styles and colors that are deeply familiar to consumers. By tapping into happy childhood memories, they are creating positive associations that help to sell products.

Another example of the power of color can be seen in the addition of green ketchup to the Heinz brand. According to Junk Food News, more than 10 million bottles of Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup were sold in the first seven months following its introduction. Heinz factories worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The new green ketchup has generated the highest sales increase in the brand’s history.

So, what can you do to tap into the power of color?

  1. Make color a priority. Really put thought into your choices. Make great choices in using color to draw out the desired emotion from your target audience.
  2. Use great graphics. It’s worth spending a little extra money on artwork, photographs, and design to really make your color pop.
  3. Manage your color carefully. Work with us to manage your color all the way through the process. This starts with submitting images in the right color space (CMYK rather than RGB), using established printing standards to set color profiles, and working with us to optimize your color for our color proofing system.

These basic steps will go a long way toward taking your color from ho, hum to WOW!




Make Your Printed Materials Pop with Color!

Printed materials are a visual introduction to your company. Adding a splash of color will…

  • Distinguish your marketing collateral from the competition;
  • Emphasize important information, like the name of your product or a Web address;
  • Lead the reader to the most important content first; and
  • Convey a specific mood or tone.

Color is a powerful way to elicit a particular response. Psychologists and marketers alike associate red with excitement and passion; yellow is cautionary; blue is cool and authoritative, but also peaceful; green is relaxing and symbolizes nature. It’s important to make sure your color palette is consistent with the message you wish to convey.

You must decide not only which colors to use, but how many. Too many gradients and colors can be distracting. A two-color ad can be just as effective as a four-color ad. The simple use of color using these basic combinations is still interesting and pleasing to the eye. Make sure the light color dominates your printed piece to maximize impact.

  • Orange/blue: A great attention-grabber; think of the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.
  • Green/red: Doesn’t have the same contrast as orange/blue, but still gets attention; this is often used by restaurants (the colors stimulate appetite) and for environmental pieces (with red symbolizing fire and green the earth).
  • Orange/yellow/black: This combination shouts, “Look here!” Go for maximum effect by placing black type against an orange or yellow background.
  • Purple/yellow: These complementary colors create a sense of elegance and importance and are often associated with royalty.

Color reproduction can be a challenge. What you see on your computer is not the same as what you see in the final printed piece. Images on your computer monitor are displayed using RGB colors produced by combining red, green, and blue. Offset printing produces color by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks. An RGB file may appear blue, but when it is printed with CMYK ink using a combination of 100% cyan and 100% magenta it will look purple.  If you plan to design printed pieces in-house, consider investing in a color management system.

Ask us about combining the colors you select with different paper options and varnishing techniques, such as UV coating, to produce different eye-catching effects and add even more pop to your brochure, postcard or direct mail piece.

Understanding Coated Papers

When you look through paper samples, one of the first things you probably notice is whether the sample is coated or uncoated. Coated papers feel smooth to the touch because they have a coating of clay and other substances. This coating causes the paper to reflect light more and absorb ink less than uncoated papers.

Many different types of coated papers exist. To make them, the paper mill starts with an uncoated piece of paper and applies different types of coatings to give the paper different qualities. We call the uncoated stock the base sheet. We refer to the thinnest type of coating as a film or wash coat, which acts as a sealer to prevent ink absorption. The next step is a matte coating. A matte coat has more clay than a wash coat and is good for projects with a lot of text. However, if your project involves large areas of heavy, dark ink coverage, matte coat papers can sometimes appear somewhat mottled.

The next step is a dull, suede or velvet coat. Like matte coatings, dull coatings are good for text readability because they are not as reflective as a gloss coat. Glossy coatings actually have the same amount of clay as a dull coat, but the mill smoothes and polishes the sheets using a process called calendaring. They run the paper between rollers, which compress and smooth the paper. Glossy coatings are great for color photographs, but the same shiny qualities that make photos look great can make text harder to read because of the glare.

Gloss coated papers can be somewhat less white than dull coated papers because the heat required to polish the paper also can add a slightly brownish cast. Coated papers often include shades of white named with terms, such as balanced, warm and cold to indicate the hue. Cream and other off-white tones are available, but because we so often use coated stock for showing off vibrant four-color printing, the paper itself is rarely brightly colored.

As you can see, there are many different kinds of coated paper stocks, and each is suited to different tasks. It can be overwhelming to tackle these choices alone. Contact us early in the planning stage of your next printing project, and we’ll help you choose the best paper and coating for your needs.