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Best Color & Stock/Coating Pairings For Print

Best Color & Stock/Coating Pairings For Print

In printing, stocks and coatings have different properties that affect print color results. Some colors will look better than others on certain stocks and coatings. This is not to say that printing other colors will necessarily look bad, but it does mean that there are certain pairings that work better.

So, here are some suggested combinations to help the design in your file look its best when printed.

Black + Spot UV

spot uv business card

We admit that black isn’t technically a color, but it is in print. The darkness and uniformity of the black (make it a rich black comprised of all 4 CMYK values), will emphasize the spot UV.

What about white? Some UV coatings have a slight color, which could make the white not as pure as your clients probably intended their white to be.

Low Coverage Colors + Uncoated Stock

uncoated stock business cards

Uncoated stock tends to soak in the ink, which can make the colors look muddier. Offsetting is also a common issue, especially where ink coverage is high. To minimize this, use lower values for each CMYK color that is in your artwork. If possible, use fewer color values. For example, instead of using all four CMYK colors to create your gray, opt to use just a K value.

Dark Colors + Metallic Foil

metallic foil card

Metallic Foil is not exactly a stock or coating, but it does deserve its own color pairing. Two of the most popular metallic foils are gold and silver, and they make a design pop because they’re not regular CMYK colors. Contrast these reflective metallics against dark backgrounds such as black, dark blue, dark purple, or dark green.

Light Colors + Pearl Paper

pearl paper pastel colors

Pearl paper has a special shimmer when you view it at certain angles under the light. The shimmer of pearlescent stock has a color of its own, often a slight beige-and-silver or a pinkish hue. This stock will show a little through the ink, so we suggest colors that make the most of the stock itself. Pastel colors such as light blue, pink, and pale yellow do the trick.

Black & White + Kraft Paper

kraft paper printing

Kraft paper is brown and textured. Made from recycled paper, it will likely contains bits of materials in the stock that are not the same color as the rest of the paper. Since the stock color is not uniform, you’ll need high contrast colors without losing the intended homemade look of Kraft paper. For this reason, black and white work best.

If you’re going to print white ink, be sure to set your file up properly according to your workflow or the requirements of your print supplier.

Bright Colors + UV Coating

CMYK color cards

UV coating adds a smooth, shiny layer to the surface of your print. This layer reflects light to make your artwork look brighter. Take advantage of this light-reflecting property by using bright colors. Some of the brightest colors are solid CMY values: 100 cyan, 100 magenta or 100 yellow.

The Print Cafe of LI, Inc. is your Premier Long Island Printing Company.
We provide Marketing Products and Services throughout Nassau
and Suffolk Counties, as well as the 5 Boroughs. We service areas such as Mineola, Garden City, Hempstead, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre,
Westbury, Farmingdale, Manhasset.

What Our Customers are saying

I started using the Print Café of LI about a year ago. 

They were able to meet my needs with suppling my team and customers with a variety of standard and custom bull’s-eye labels needed throughout our Business footprint.

The Print Café of LI is very reliable. When I send in my order, I receive exactly what was requested in a timely manner.

The quality of the product from Print Café of LI is top notch and meets the needs of my business.


I would highly recommend their services to anyone in need of general or custom printing products.


Ed Tommey

The Malverne School District has had the pleasure of doing business with The Print Café for almost 10 years now.  In that time The Print Café has provided a full spectrum of marketing services to the District including the school calendar, newsletter, postcards, posters, and a multitude of special requests.  All products and services provided by The Print Café have been timely, economical, and of the highest quality.  They are professional, friendly, and easy to engage with.  The Print Café has been our marketing superstore since we began working with them.  It is without hesitation that I highly recommend The Print Café to any entity in need of an outstanding printing and marketing company.


Very respectfully,

Dr. Spiro C. Colaitis, P.E.

Assistant Superintendent for District Operations

Malverne Union Free School District

Administration Building

301 Wicks Lane, Malverne, NY 11565

I've used the Print Cafe numerous times now and they are great to work with. We've done banners, letterhead, envelopes, signs, magnets and more and it's always top quality and quick turnaround. Highly recommend!

Lindsey DeSanto
Alure Home Improvements 

“Hi Tony, Received the step & repeat banner today. Great Banner! Really nice material, great service, deadline was met with time to spare. Well done! It looks great!
Keith @ FSP”
Franklin Square Photographers
119 Franklin Ave
Franklin Square, New York 11010
“Tony was great to work with! They did a big job in a short amount of time. They worked with me to customize it and their response time was great. The end product came out great - exactly how I imagined it. Great pricing as well! Would definitely work with them again.

Rebecca Chin
CFO | Market Center Administrator
Keller Williams Points North
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