Digital Printing on Colored Stock

Every project lends itself to a certain production method. Factors often beyond the control of a designer (i.e. clients deadlines) impact and usually guide you to a particular production method. Typically quick projects with low quantities are printed digitally. Digital printing is often thought of as lesser printing quality when compared to offset printing but that simply isn't the case.

Any production method, any paper stock, any typeface or color can be fugly or fantastic if it's well designed. I recently completed a project that necessitated digital printing. Rather than view the production method as a hinderance, I valued it as an assets. I chose the wonderful stock Classic Crest Patriot Blue by the incomparable Neenah Paper. The tone of the project was an understated elegance. 

Once thing to keep in mind when running white ink on dark stock is you'll likely need multiple passes of color to build up enough density so the paper doesn't show through. The image below illustrates the huge noticable between one and four passes of white ink. 


Left: One pass of white ink. Right: 4 passes of white ink. 

Left: One pass of white ink. Right: 4 passes of white ink. 

Something to keep in mind when adding multiple passes of color is that fine details will become increasingly blurry with each pass. It's like logos or small typography must be closely watch to ensure you balance achieving the effect you desire maintaining design standards. 

In the end the invitations were a hit and the client was very pleased. Printing with digital presses are a great way to make impossible deadlines while still doing great work. From the photos below a simple use of white ink on this beautiful blue stock lent created a great look.

Production lesson learned: Multiple passes of color are required for dark paper stocks but you need to watch fine details and typography to ensure nothing get lost during production.

Designer: Hoyt Haffelder
Printer: Capital Printing Co., Austin Tx