Colour in Graphic Design

Colour plays an enormous part in our lives. From a young age we all have a favourite colour, enjoy brilliant blue skies, and pay attention when we see a red warning sign. Colour is a key tool for a designer – a way to express emotion and feeling without the need for imagery. But we also take colour for granted, expecting the vibrant colour on our screens and swatch books to translate into print without a hitch. Colour reproduction, however, can be where most of the problems with print design occur – from washed-out hues or over-dark shadows, to patch fills and uneven gradients.

By knowing the potential pitfalls of print reproduction, and building a working environment that deals with them, you can be assured your print jobs will be more to your, and your clients, liking. The first step is understanding the transformation colours go through as they move from screen to print, and why the two systems are almost completely opposite from one another. Setting up a managed, colour-profiled workflow will give you more control over the production process, as will having a quality-control filter with on-screen and print proofing.