These processes were meant to APPROXIMATE the selected color of how it will look when printed. Unless you have gone through an extensive color calibration process these devices each shows colors differently. You can take the same image on 5 monitors and it will look different on all of them. The same will occur when printing out to 5 different laser/inkjet printers. Each device has different degrees of calibration that are possible.
A monitor displays color in RGB (red, green blue). Colors are created by adding red, green and blue light (additive process). Offset printing will typically be either CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) or PMS Colors. Inked paper absorbs or reflects specific wavelengths (subtractive process). Cyan, magenta and yellow pigments serve as filters, subtracting varying degrees of red, green and blue from white light to produce a selective range (gamut) of spectral colors. PMS Colors are specially formulated colors that don’t always have CMYK or RGB equivalents.
Both RGB and CMYK can only represent at best a relatively small part of the total color space, and there are some colors that can be produced in one but not in the other and vice-versa. The range of color that a color space can produce is called the gamut.
Another element that affects the way the color will look when printed is the stock. An uncoated stock will absorb more ink creating a heavier image. On a coated stock the ink will typically sit more on the top of the surface. The coating on the stock had a different reflective property creating more vibrant images. If the stock has a color to it the inks will be affected by the color. If you print a light blue on a cream stock that light blue will have a tinge of green to it. When using special or colored stocks it is best to ask for ink drawdowns on the actual paper. This will give you a better idea of how the actual color will look. Something to remember with drawdowns - an ink draw down is created by putting the ink onto a paper by hand without water — when you actually get on press and add all the other elements in there can be a slight variations when on press.
For CMYK offset printing we recommend a matchprint proof to show how the color will print on press. The matchprint device has been calibrated to match the printers press. Each press will print a little differently (some may be heavier reds, some may be heavier cyan.) Matchprints can be calibrated to show the difference in what happens to an image on Coated vs Uncoated stock. This will help to eliminate any surprises on press.
In 2007 Pantone updated their CMYK color builds for PMS colors to create better CMYK matches. Many of the common design programs are using the old cmyk color builds. Quark 7 and Quark 8 both come with the current CMYK libraries. If you are using Adobe CS3 or earlier you will need to update your libraries. To ensure the best CMYK color match of your PMS color you should visit the Pantone website and go to the support section to download the updates.
There are special considerations when using a paper such as Stardream, Shine, Curious metallics, etc… When printing with these papers you want to consult with your printer early in the design stage.
The surface of this paper does not absorb ink like a conventional printing paper. The ink will sit on the surface of the paper requiring a special ink - Oxidizing or Oxybind ink.
Another consideration with the ink is any additional manufacturing processes that may be occurring. If you are planning on engraving or foil stamping over the printed area the printer will need to use wax-free ink to ensure that the engraving ink and foil adhere to the paper.
If you are using Pantone colors with the stock you will want to have your printer do an ink draw down so you can see how the color is going to look on the actual paper.
When your planning your production schedule you need to take into account the nature of the stock and allow for ample dry time. In many cases you may need to allow the printed sheets 2 to 3 days to dry/cure after printing before the next manufacturing step can take place.
We here this term thrown around in relation to the environment and inks. So what does it really mean.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. When VOCs are released into the environment they can damage the soil and ground water. Vapours of VOCs escaping into the air contribute to ozone depletion and air pollution.
The inks we use in the printing and engraving processes are low-VOC varieties to help minimize the effects on the environment.