Colour Variance

It's common to experience minor colour variations between one printed piece and the next. Check out our guide to secure the best colours possible.


Prints are subject to small degrees of colour variance. CMYK printing combines Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink to produce a full-colour image. Therefore, some colours may look slightly different when printed on paper between print runs and at the start and end of a single run.

We cannot always colour match against work from other printers, but we always do our best to keep colour variation to a minimum. See our recommended CMYK values guide to ensure you get accurate printed colours here

Example 1 of slight colour variance
Colour Variance Example 1
Example 2 of slight colour variance
Colour Variance Example 2

Digital vs Offset

Digital and offset printing presses produce slightly different colours. An industry scale digital printer is like a giant office printer, ideal for small print runs. However, a offset printer uses ink - and metal plates press images onto paper, and it's more efficient for large print runs. Although they both use CMYK inks, they use two different manufacturing processes, so there will be some variation between the two methods.

Offset presses can reproduce colours more consistently than a digital press throughout the entire print run. You can learn more about the differences between these two printing methods here.


Paper Types

Each paper type absorbs CMYK ink differently, so take some time to consider which paper is best for your projects with our Paper guide. For example, if you print the same design on silk and uncoated paper, there will be some colour variation.

We recommend satin paper for the most accurate colour reproduction, while gloss tends to increase hue saturation. Uncoated or recycled paper darkens and desaturates the final colour.



Like paper, lamination can affect your final colours.

For example, satin paper with matt lamination is the most common choice for cover papers because matt lamination reduces shine. Matt lamination, moreover, can desaturate colours slightly and even apply a slight coloured tint. Similarly, like with gloss paper, a gloss laminate can enhance colour saturation and provide an extra shiny coating to your cover paper.

Booklet cover with matt and gloss lamination