Harry Houdini was probably one of the most infamous stars of illusion and magic. His ability to mystify the masses with his craft made him a legend. But apart from the fact that his surname ( Weisz) translates from German to English as ‘ White‘ – the basis of any colour – the comparison ends here…

If I’ve had this discussion once with a client then I’ve had it a thousand times, and no doubt there will be a million more times to come. Colour… probably the most subjective aspect of our industry. There’s no escaping it.

After all these years, you would have thought somebody would have got it right… surely?

The real issue is a genuine lack of understanding of the various processes and the effect that modern technology has had on colour… for better or for worse.

The big issue that we hear most of the time is “It looks different on my screen”. Yes… it does. That’s simply because not all screens were created equal and unless you have invested time and money, not only in equipment but in expertise in colour correction, then it is likely that your screen is not tuned to display colour correctly. Each screen is different and there is no magic profile or program that can instantly make your screen colour correct. It is reliant on ambient light, screen type and quality… the list goes on and on. It’s the reason that studios and printers most often have specially chosen lighting and screens in their operations.

Once you’ve managed to grasp the concept that your logo and website will actually look different on every single client’s machine, you get to the printing process. Again, you’d have thought that technology would have assisted in making this easier… not the case. Although the quality of the process is much improved in the past decade, and at the speed at which jobs can be processed and delivered has added a new service level to the industry, colour is still colour and stock ( paper stock that is) is still stock!

Every stock is different, but you can break stock into three major categories – Gloss | Matt | Uncoated

A common misconception is that a matt stock is the same as an uncoated stock. This is not the case. It’s a coated stock but is simply milled differently to a coated stock, thus removing the ‘ shine‘ and giving a ‘ sheen‘. The main difference between these stocks is that ink sits on top of a coated stock, while it bleeds into the texture of an uncoated stock. This is part of the reason that colours appear differently.

In fact, we have over 4 different colour swatches of the millions of colours to choose from and as part of the design process we examine the difference between stocks and the variance that may occur – especially in the branding process. In fact it is not unusual for us to choose and uncoated and coated colour for many jobs in order to better match the colour.

As you can see, there are a lot more complexities to colour than at first glance. We spend countless hours choosing colours, checking colours and ensuring continuity for our clients but there is no magic solution. Perhaps the industry needs its own Houdini