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6 Ways to Wow With One Color Printing for Printers

How do you help your clients make their work stand out in a world where everything, from direct mail to smartphone content, is rendered in full color? Simple: By helping them concentrate the rest of their budget and creativity on one or more of the following six key areas. (Just be sure to remind them to consult with you before they begin the design process so they understand both what is possible to achieve on their budget and how long it will take for you to complete.)

1. Foil.

Its shimmer not only gets your client’s work noticed and enhances its perceived value, but it also comes in a variety of different colors. Use it instead of ink entirely or, for truly stunning effects, use a digital foiling technique such as Scodix or sleeking in combination with one-ink printing. (Because it’s a digital process, this also enables the addition of a unique greeting, message, or artwork to each piece, similar to the way digital presses allow them to take advantage of “variable data printing.”) 

Caption: An example of foil used instead of ink. Image source
2. Different textured paper for printing.

If your client can imagine a specific texture, chances are you can track it down in substrate form. You’ll find everything from wood grain to laid, metallics to translucents… even sheets that look (and feel) like human skin!

Caption: Invitation letterpress printed on Gmund Wood paper. Image source
3. Spot UV or raised Spot UV (aka spot varnish).

Strategic application of clear ink to specific parts of your client’s design allows you to make their work stand out more – a particularly effective way to enhance a company’s logo or the title of a publication.

Caption: An example of spot UV (aka spot varnish). Image source
4. Die-cutting.

Instantly grab attention by giving your client’s piece a unique shape. You can also create a “window” in the cover of their folded sheet to either tease an illustration printed on the inside, or to tantalize by allowing the product inside the packaging to be glimpsed from without.

Caption: The combination of one color printing and die cutting can be amazing. Image source
5. Embossing.

Though potentially the most expensive alternative to 4-color printing (depending on the type of die used and the amount of detail included therein), embossing is also arguably the most effective as it engages both sight and touch – something that research strongly suggests makes a deeper impression on the audience experiencing it.

Caption: Embossing is a delight for the fingertips as well as the eyes. Image source
6. Colored paper.

Choose a paper in an intense color, print some sharp type and graphics on top in black ink, and your client’s work will instantly stand out. Or print another hue on top of a colored stock for even greater impact. This works particularly well on a digital press where you can easily make adjustments until you get just the effect your client is looking for, all without the added time and expense of offset makeready.

Caption: Combining colored stock with one-color printing. Image source
So why make the color of your inks do all the heavy lifting when there are so many other attention-grabbing, and more tactilely engaging, ways to bring your clients’ work to life?

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