The Role of Color and Challenges of Print Production

April 12, 2022

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From the eyes of a Print Producer, how color can transform a simple image into one that mesmerizes.

It’s easy to forget how impactful an image can be – they’re everywhere! Images can add those extra invisible words in an instant while perfectly capturing moments in different places and times to represent a message.

The key to a perfect image? Color.

As a Print Producer, I live in a world of color – and the more color, the better. The role of color in marketing truly cannot be disregarded.

colorful paper sheets

The Role of Color

Color flows, narrates, and it helps support the emotion. It inspires.

I try and make sure bits of light are properly represented, so the whole story is heard. Images add the back story to your story… so we must make sure they look good!

Print Producers view images in a whole other light (5000K) and think about the final product (or several variations of it at a time). I constantly must think about an image being in different settings, and what that viewing situation might contribute to its effect.

As much as I would love everyone to look at a carefully crafted magazine ad in the perfect lighting, many of us are squinting in a dark corner of the living room or opening our mail in the condo lobby.

Those factors play a part in the final development, thinking of how something will look at 10 ft vs 10 inches. When you add situational tone to your critiques, it adds a whole other list of questions. I often find myself asking ‘If someone saw this when standing across the street would they know what it is?‘.

woman looking through binoculars

What is Print Production?

Print Production is a lot of crafts: printing, cutting, and folding paper are often things I do. You can have the world’s most perfect image but if you print on something that doesn’t work with the feel of it, then you’re screwed. I am very fortunate to work at an agency that appreciates the knowledge their Producers have and worked with us to make sure the final output is the best it can be.

It is an absolute gift when the team finds that perfect stock image.

From experience over the years, I find the general image requirements to be the following:

  • Non-posed but with the product we need
  • Candid but not creepy candid
  • Has one’s brand colors
  • A JPEG big enough to put on a blimp
  • And one like the other one they like but from a different angle.

This is a perfect example of why using good stock houses is key! Agencies rely on them to have the unknown or unplanned content come to life and increase engagement.

Without the creative idea of others, we wouldn’t have libraries to search for images that fit our needs. The perfect lighting, or even the context of a situation to assist in conveying a message for us.

a designer working on a project

Challenges of Print Production

The most difficult of things is reviewing it and thinking about how the eye (or many eyes) will interpret it.

Why are you seeing certain things pop more? Does this follow the brief? Is this going to look great? Is this what the creatives were envisioning?

By default, there are some colors people seem to notice more or even like more – we must make sure given the brief and the creative vision that we are following those – just because I like warmer tones doesn’t mean we run with more magenta.

I’ve worked on projects that had every color imageable and some with fifty shades of K.

The important thing is how we’re reproducing from something on the screen to something you can touch. We want it to have the same wow effect in your living room that it had when the initial inspiration struck.

Wrapping up

In the end, as Print producers, what we want is for people to stop in the street and recognize color and pause just long enough to read the copy.

Colors, and images (no matter how similar) link to your memories and emotions, and spark recognition. Any brand you are loyal to has a color that ignites a feeling, and many of your core memories may have the same.

For a point of reference when you get an email filled with typed red directions and bolded highlights, think of the way that makes you feel.

Overall, live in a world of color where the image can convey the excitement of the project. It’s what I do!

About the author

Rachel Junker is Print Producer at independent agency FUSE Create. She currently leads Print Production for the agency having started in advertising almost a decade ago. She continues to be awed by the creative that she works on, helping to elevate it to new heights. Rachel’s astrology and life-coaching knowledge bring a unique take on approaching deadlines. You can usually find her sitting at home with some great snacks and her two pups.

Rachel Junker

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