The appearance of your stationery and marketing materials is just as critical as the way you dress, the way your lobby and conference rooms look, or the way your receptionist greets clients – because nothing is more visible than your stationery and marketing materials. In most cases, the first and last thing your clients and prospective clients see is your business card and presentation materials.
But did you know that the accuracy of the color in your stationery and marketing materials is just as critical as the design of these items?
It can be frustrating when the predominant color of your firm’s brand is printed in inconsistent shades on your business cards, letterhead, and mailing labels. PMS is an acronym for the Pantone® Matching System, which is the color standardization system most commonly used by designers, printers, and engravers to maintain color consistency across all your materials.
Although the PMS system does help to standardize colors, there are many variables that must be managed to achieve true color consistency. Many of our customers are shocked to see how the same PMS color can appear differently on different products. To ensure color consistency across all of your firm’s printed items, your printer, if they are true professionals, should be considering the following key variables:
1. Size and Weight of Type/Art
Text, line weights, and artwork may alter the appearance of color. For example, bolder text or fuller coverage artwork may appear lighter than thinner text weights or lines.
2. Stock Choices
Stocks in the same color family, such as letterhead and business cards, have different weights or thicknesses, which impacts the paper’s opacity (e.g., how much you see through the paper). This, in turn, impacts how the same color appears on the paper. This is also true for paper stocks with different colors and finishes. You should always discuss the options with your printer prior to production to ensure that you receive pleasing color matches across different substrates.
3. Print Processes
Due to the absorption differences of inks, sealants, varnishes and coatings, the same PMS number inks can create completely different shades or colors if they are produced in different processes when engraved, printed or thermographed. A skilled pressman, however, will anticipate any potential color variances that could result from paper and processes used for each project and make subtle adjustments to achieve consistency. Also, although PMS colors cannot be precisely mixed in CMYK (4-color process printing), pleasing color or a close color match can still be attained by a professional printer.
Since color consistency is critical to effective branding, you should discuss your ultimate goals with your printer and you should be confident that they have the requisite skill to manage colors across all of your firm’s printed materials.
ASL offers a full breadth of manufacturing processes and paper stocks, and has been a trusted print partner to law firms nationwide for over 60 years. We ALWAYS manage color from piece to piece to ensure brand consistency for our clients.
So ask yourself ~ who is managing my PMS? Then call your ASL account manager at 800.222.0510 or visit our online gallery to see some of our customers’ materials.