How Paper Affects Printed Colors

How Paper Affects Printed Colors

Paper, Ink and the Printing process…what does this all mean?

When deciding which type and finish of paper to use for a print job it is very important to understand the finishings and they effect colors as they can have a significant impact on the way ink appears on the final product. For example, if you order letterhead, business cards, and brochures using different types of paper for each project, they may all appear to have been printed using different ink colors, even though the ink color is identical.

When printing on coated paper, the ink sits on top of the coating, which makes ink colors appear sharper and more vibrant, while on uncoated paper, the ink is absorbed into the fibers of the paper, appearing duller and less vibrant.

If you are selective on your colors we encourage you to compare a Pantone Color Bridge swatch book between coated vs. uncoated paper. The same ink colors appear very differently depending on the type of paper used. PMS colors also indicate whether they’re designed for coated stock (Pantone 185 C, for example) or an uncoated stock (Pantone 185 U).  The C stands for Coated while the U stands for Uncoated and will help to guide your decision process when selecting a color for your printed materials.


Our team of printing experts have been helping clients for over 15 years with this tricky process that can really have a dramatic effect on your printed material.

If you have questions or need advice about papers and ink colors, please feel for to contact us and we would be delighted to send you our MGS sample book that highlight various effects on particular paper stocks and includes multiple finishings and the effect  the have on the final printed pieces.

These samples can help you visualize what your printed piece will look like before committing ink to paper

Until Next time… Stay Creative.