Designing for colored paper

My client has asked me to design a postcard that will be printed digitally on a neon yellow card stock. He’d like to include CMKY photos of people and products.

Does anyone have any tips for designing projects on colored paper? I’m unclear how the color white should be handled, especially in photos, and if the yellow card stock will affect the tone of the other colors that are printed.

Any tips will be appreciated. :blush:

Does your client realize it will look like this?

I suspect his/her reasoning is that the color will attract attention, which might be right. However, it will look awful. The color will scream out at the target audience, “Look at me! See how garish I look.” I doubt your client will want that to happen. Maybe you ought to talk to him.

Now if you’re a brilliant designer and can use this normally not-so-good look to design something amazingly creative, more power to you. Also, if your client has money to spend, there are 5-color printing processes that could achieve the fluorescent, chartreuse color in the background as a mask, of sorts, around the products or people. That might look pretty bad too, though.

My advice… You’re the designer; convince your client not to make a bad decision. Then again, I know nothing about your client or your client’s business — maybe garish is par for the course with him and his customers. :wink:

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B, that has to be the most diverse group of folks ever to visit a dentist’s office.

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They all have one thing in common, though — brilliant yellowish-green teeth. All good candidates for a teeth whitening procedure.

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Just-B and PrintDriver, you both have me in stitches. It does look like a dental ad. Fortunately my client isn’t a dentist but I really don’t know who else would do well with that jaundiced look. :wink:

Just-B, I loved your brilliant description and accompanying photo of what a color image would look like printed on bright yellow card stock. Point well taken. I will talk to my client and see if I can convince him to do something that will drum up business, not scare it away. Thanks again!

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One thing to remember is that most inks are transparent, so whatever the color of the paper stock might be, that color gets added into the mix and shows through.

I used to work at a newspaper, and newsprint is about 5 percent yellowish-gray. We would adjust all our photos to compensate for the 5 percent tone that was already there in the paper.

You should set this up with a 5th plate if you want white. The HP Indigo is perfect for this kind of production. All you have to do is lay down a “primer coat” called a white plate - behind the people.

Basically, select your people as a whole, copy and paste behind, fill with “WHITE” (a spot channel named WHITE).

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This is what I was going to suggest.

Another option would be to print on white stock and print yellow ink in the areas where there are no photos.

Right, but to hit a neon yellow you’ll still have to make a bump plate of the yellow lol.

I haven’t spoken to my client yet to dissuade him from printing on the yellow card stock but it’s good to know other possible options. Would the white plate (spot channel) import into InDesign from PhotoShop as a spot color or how would that work?

If you’re going with a 5th colour I would print the yellow background as a spot and do the whole thing on a white card.

this right here is enough reason not to use the neon stock. Even if you got the white to a good opacity level, you are essentially paying for 2 additional plates just to have it look as it normally would with white stock.

That’s what I would do as well and sort of implied as much in my first response. However, Whit didn’t show the actual images, which might or might not lend themselves to masking/silhouetting. Whit also indicated this would be digitally printed, so I’m guessing the press run will be small with a limited budget. I doubt there’s money there for a fifth fluorescent spot color.

Maybe the discussion has turned into a theoretical discussion of what’s technically possible, which is totally fine. To Whit’s question about what course of action to take, however, my advice would still be to reconsider the fluorescent chartreuse. There’s a place for these kinds of colors, and I’ve seen them used well when done right. Reading between the lines of Whit’s post, though, I doubt this is one of those occasions.

Sorry I wasn’t too detailed in my posts. The project is in the beginning stages and the photos/images haven’t been selected as of yet. And as you’d suspected in your first response to my question, the client would like the fluorescent color to attract attention. I think it’s fair to say that he hasn’t considered the difference between negative and positive attention.

My goal here was to gather information before speaking to him so that I can approach the subject from an informed perspective. You were right about the budget being small so the cost of additional plates probably isn’t an option. However, I do appreciate the theoretical discussions and everyone’s input since it has been educational. :blush:

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