These days printing has been made so simple, streamlined and efficient, but there is still one hurdle that most companies face; keeping colors consistent and cost effective. If you're a large corporation with money to throw around this may not bother you at all, but small to mid size companies still struggle to keep their branding cohesive, consistent, and correct. In some cases color isn't tackled at all. Unfortunately that is a mistake that will be expensive to correct in the long run, and can definitely hurt the way a customer looks at you and your business. Color is an important part of your business.
Think about the last time you saw a business card, an advertisement, or a print product from Coca-Cola. Chances are you know what red that is; heck, you could probably even pick it out of a line up of reds. The huge soft drink corporation uses a lot of money to make sure their brand color is as correct as possible for every different use. Even if it means NOT using their brand color at all! That color you picked out of the line up? That was just one of their brand colors, sneaky right?
When you print a specific color on regular old printer paper, and then print that EXACT same color on a different whiter paper, or a matte paper with texture, the chances of those colors matching perfectly are slim. If you take this into consideration for everything your company gets printed, from paper, clothes, marketing materials and even signage, things can get expensive really fast. You would likely have to hire someone and create a branding department that overlooks every piece of material your company will produce, to make sure your brand is cohesive, consistent, and correct.
In order to circumvent that difference in color output (for the most part) you would need to use something called Spot Colors. Spot colors are a very specific mix of pigments, a recipe if you will, for certain colors and shades. Most modern day printing methods use a four color process known as CMYK, but the color output of this process can vary wildly from printer to printer. Stuff like the humidity in the room, how old the inks are, even how clean the machine is can have an impact on CMYK printing. With spot colors the differences in color output are largely mitigated but when using these spot colors the printer usually has to stop production to change, mix, or clean machines, making printing more costly.
Unfortunately these are only a few of the things that can make color expensive. By working with someone that understands these issues and knows how to go about creating cohesive, consistent, and correct designs from the start, you'll save a ton of money and a lot of headaches down the road. You may never know it and your clients will probably never notice it, when it is done correctly, but if done poorly you can bet it will make a negative impact.