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What Color Paper Should I Use?


If you've ever visited a paper store, you've probably noticed that there are dozens of shades of white paper. Some white paper has a soft creme coloring while others are a soft gray, soft blue or even a soft pink. Viewed separately, these papers each appear to be white but, viewed next to other white papers, it's easy to see the vast color difference.

Most people will want to print their professional jobs on white paper. It's the most common color and offers the greatest amount of flexibility in terms of paper weight availability. But there are hundreds of colored paper stocks that one might also choose. The important thing to consider, when choosing a paper color, is what will be printed on it.

If one is going to be printing any full-color photos, then white paper is likely the best answer. Remember that, when one prints on colored stock, what was white in a photograph, will now be the color of the stock. This can significantly change the way a photo looks. A photo of a person, a landscape or a plate of food, can appear radically different when printed on a colored stock. Our eyes aren't really accustomed to this color shift and it may create a distasteful effect. Spot ink colors will shift as well.

A compromise to using colored stock might be to cover most of the page with a light tint of an ink color. A designer has the flexibility of using a white background for photos, colors will print as expected and one has the benefit of appearing to have a colored paper stock. The best of both worlds.

If one is considering a colored stock, it should be planned from the beginning of the project. Make sure that your designer takes this important factor into consideration when designing the piece. If the paper stock color is chosen at the end of a project when the design work is done, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises when you receive your samples from the printer.






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