Color Printing in Direct Mail and Print Advertising

Color printing provides more attention-getting capability for the advertisement or printed piece and serves several other purposes

color printing direct mailColor printing provides more attention-getting capability for the advertisement or printed piece and serves several other purposes: to create a desired mood or atmosphere, to take advantage of the psychological associations people carry with certain colors, to contrast, or to highlight, certain aspects of the advertisement. On the average, a two-color brochure, for example, will generate more responses than single color printing. A full color printing job will have the best success rate!

In a true, two-color print job, where, for example, the copy is to appear in black and the headline and illustration in green, two separate impressions usually must be made on the printing press. First, the black plate is printed. The press is then stopped and washed. the second color (green) is added along with the second plate, and the partially printed paper, in sheets or rolls, is then run through the press again. Because of the two impressions needed, this process is costly. A two-color press, one that can do both parts of the job simultaneously, can save money for you. It is a good idea to know your printers capability and fitting the right printer to the job.

To reproduce material in full color, the printer must use a special four-color printing process. Four separate printing plates must be prepared, and, in the actual printing, the impressions made on the paper by each of the plates must register in perfect accordance with those of the other plates. In addition to the one plate necessary for reproducing black, three others are needed–one for each of the three primary colors, magenta, yellow, and cyan. When these colored inks are mixed in the right proportions, they can yield all possible desired colors.

Negatives, called color separations, are made by scanning the original (the artwork or photograph). A special filter is used, which permits only one color to pass through at a time. From the separations, halftones are then made. In turn, these are used for preparing the printing plates or in digital printing sent directly to the press.

An exceptionally wide range of paper stocks is available for print production. Papers range in weight from ultra-light, tissue-like paper to newsprint, parchment, and kraft (used for wrapping packages and envelopes) to cardboards and book-cover stocks. Most of the paper used in the direct mail falls into the book stock classification, although writing papers constitute an important secondary genre. The latter group is used for such purposes as sales letters, company stationery, business forms, records, and other purposes that require paper to be typed or written on. Bond paper is a prime example. It’s available in varying finishes and with varying contents of wood pulp and rag. Papers in the book paper family run from the soft, somewhat rough, and uncoated antique paper to the English finish and machine-finished linen papers.

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