Planning a Print Project

Planning a Print Project

IJ Graphics

Choosing your Paper

There is a bewildering selection of papers, but the key variations come down to the finishes.

Uncoated – plain: Used for photocopying and most letterheads and forms.
Silk or Satin: When the paper has a matt coating with a smooth surface.
Gloss: When the coating is polished to a shine.

Recycled or part recycled papers are also worth considering. As well as environmental and ethical advantages, these papers have much improved in recent years and can provide great results, without necessarily increasing costs, and are now considered to be a very popular choice.

Pantone Colours

You may want to select a specific colour for your item, especially if you have set company colours. You can choose special colours from the ‘Pantone Matching System (PMS)’, which is like having a paint swatch of all colours available.

Pantone colours are identified by a number (eg. PMS 141), giving an industry standard for designers and printers.

Usually, if you are printing letterheads or plainer literature, it is cheaper to use just 1 or 2 colours, which you can choose from the Pantone range. This saves having to print your item on a 4 colour press, and you only need to pay for 1 or 2 plates.

One important point to remember is that even a Pantone colour can vary on different papers or presses, so if you are concerned about exact matching, do ask us for advice

4 Colours or Full Colour or 4 Colour Process?

‘4 colour’ or ‘4 colour process’ is print speak for a full colour job. On a printing press, all colours are created by mixing four main colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (or Key).

If your job needs more than 3 separate colours, you can simply go to CMYK, which means you can use all the colours available, should you wish. It is usually cheaper to print 4 colour process than 3 special or separate colours.

A 'Special Colour'

When printing in CMYK, certain colours may not appear as you would like, and need to be printed separately as ‘special colours’ for the best result. In other words, using a chosen Pantone colour as well as 4 colour process.

You will need to balance the importance of having the exact colour against the price of a ‘special colour’ – and the extra plate cost.

The other option is to choose the colour you prefer, and ask us how closely we can match it using 4 colour process.


The main cost of printing lies in getting the job ready to print. It often costs just a few pounds more to ‘run-on’ to an extra hundred or even thousand copies whilst the job is on press. Do ask what the ‘run-on cost’ would be for so many extra copies – you may be surprised at how small it is.

Scanning Pictures

You may want to include drawings or colour photographs in your job. These need to be scanned, which is similar to photocopying a picture and translating it into a digital format ready to be used in digital artwork.

Many photographs are now supplied digitally straight from the camera. Please be aware that e-mailing the pictures may make the pictures smaller to make the email process quicker – this will make the picture too small for printing, so always use the option ‘keep my pictures the same size’.

Please note: when supplying images of any kind to us, please ensure that you either own the copyright to the image, or that you have permission to use it.

Hints and Tips

If using pictures, always provide the best quality, highest resolution that you can, 300dpi images should be the minimum requirment to produce the best results.

When preparing an item for print, try to get everything as near-perfect as possible before you hand it over to us. Corrections or changing your mind may incur further charges at a later stage, and may well delay the finished product.

If you require proofs before going to print it is worth bearing in mind it is not always easy to get the colours exactly right on a proof. Therefore if you have concerns about the colours on the proof please do discuss this with us before we go to print.