The Stationers Guild

Don’t be “color” blind-sided on your wedding invitation or social stationery

Earlier this summer, I attended the Concours d’Elégance classic automobile exhibition in Greenwich, Connecticut. I was invited by Kenro Industries who were introducing their Bentley Continental Limited Edition of fine writing instruments by Tibaldi. This remarkable Bentley Series of fountain pens, roller balls, ball point pens and mechanical pencils were available in the five Bentley colors: Silver Tempest, Silverlake, Dark Sapphire, Cumbrian Green and Beluga.

As the owner of Thérèse Saint Clair, I have long been fascinated by writing instruments and fine papers. Reflecting on this exceptional exhibit of vintage automobiles and pens, I was struck with the thought that our lives as stationers would be a lot simpler if we only had to deal with the five Bentley colors. Upon consideration, I realized that color is only part of the equation and that paper stock and the printing process will have a considerable bearing on one’s wedding invitation, social stationery or business card.

To illustrate this point in more detail, I decided to run a simple experiment by comparing the outcome of using the identical ink color on the same paper stock but using two different printing processes: engraving and thermography. Found below is a comparison of the “Thérèse Saint Clair” logo printed on identical custom paper stock (Saint Clair salmon) using the same “green” ink, but using a different printing method:

Engraved Logo

Thermography Logo

Please note that these images have been scanned at a resolution rate of 1200 dpi and then configured to internet resolution standards of 72 dpi. While monitor and printer resolutions vary from monitor to monitor and printer to printer, there is an unmistakable difference between the two images. You might ask yourself, “How is this possible?” The simple answer is that printing processes are so different that even using the same inks and paper stock, the printing process transforms the surrounding environment. In an online world, I would hate to be ordering an online wedding invitation where I was convinced that the color green was “Engraved Logo” and get an invitation where the color green was actually “Thermography Logo.”

The only constructive way to truly see how your color of choice will appear on an invitation or stationery is to consult a color palette with your local stationer. There are situations where thermography is often the printing process of choice, but it is next to impossible to determine this without “seeing” real color samples in person. Approximation using an online printer may appear to be more convenient, but unless you can actually feel the paper and “see” the color and printing differences in broad daylight, you could well be disappointed with the outcome of your social or business stationery or wedding invitation. We recommend that you consult a Guild Member store in your neighborhood for more information on what printing process works best for your circumstances.

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