January 07, 2006

Colors and Commerce

There's a client of ours that orders prints of 10,000 business cards at a time. Granted, he only shows up about once every two years, but still...

His business is called Stop & Go Transmissions. His business card is printed in red (PMS 165, Steve) ink on Meadow Green colored card stock. Meadow Green is a deep rich earthy green. Kinda, as you'd expect, grassy green, but even more so. What an ugly card.

Now, you might ask "But, Spork, red and green are such a pretty combination -- Why would it turn out so ugly?"

Well, ink goes on very thinly. The color of the paper effects the color of the ink. And, as I said to Bossman yesterday, someone oughta tell this guy that red and green are opposite colors. When you mix them, all you get is some shade of brown.

"Red and green are opposite colors"?! Yep.

There are three primary colors in pigments: Red, blue and yellow. The three secondary colors are purple (blue and red), orange (red and yellow) and green (yellow and blue). So when red ink (a primary color) is printed on green stock (a secondary color made up of the primaries blue and yellow) you get brown. Brown on green. Ugly.

The obvious answer is to have these card printed thermographically. (That's where you get the fake-engraved-like raised print.) The problem is that ordering 10,000 thermographed business cards would cost him about $500. So, he opts for the flat printed red-on-green.

The other option is to print two inks (red and green ink on white stock) in reverse. But that would require a rediculous color registration as the small text would have to set just so to keep it clean.

No. The best solution is to have them thermographed, and not to hand out 10,000 business cards every two years. I mean, that's like 13 cards a day. Get a grip. Maybe you'd have more business coming in if yer cards didn't look like shit.

I'm jus' sayin' is all.

Posted by Tuning Spork at January 7, 2006 10:18 PM | TrackBack

Interesting thing about the colors. Not sure I was able to follow it, really. Maybe that's why the Viking Bride chose the colors for our house. And I just sort of nodded along.

Posted by: RP at January 9, 2006 10:09 AM


Opposite colors do look good together. Side-by-side, that is, not mixed.
Red & green: Christmas!
Blue and orange: The Mets!
Purple and yellow: Well, that'd look good, too!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at January 9, 2006 08:54 PM
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