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Using Silver and Gold in Your Desktop Publishing Projects

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 6/27/2011

Silver and gold make a strong impression visually, but they often print poorly. This guide will help you use these two colors effectively in your desktop publishing projects (or holiday projects), while also showing you how to avoid the major pitfalls.

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    It's easy to overlook the difficulties of working with silver and gold because on crisp white pieces of paper they can stand out in a way that other colors just don’t. In documents, silver and gold command attention. They are the mainstay of things like wedding invitations and other projects where the goal is to impress the recipient.

    The problem with using silver and gold in your projects as a home-based desktop publisher is simple. The average home or small-business printer is simply not set up to print out in silver and gold. If you try to do this kind of printing with your average home or small-business printer it will join up the colors with tones of yellow or gray. Ostensibly, that’s not what you’re looking for. You want that iconic shine that comes with real silver or gold in your projects. Today, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can design for silver and gold. Then we'll look at how to find a printer who can take your designs and make them reality.

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    Tips for Using Silver and Gold

    With the exception of certain winter holiday projects most of the time the color silver or gold is going to be one of the accent colors. Since you only get to use it in small amounts there are a few things you can do to make every inch of silver or gold ink count.

    Keep it near the top of the page

    A reader’s eye is naturally drawn to the top of the page. It gets the most attention of any section of the page. That means that keeping the silver and gold to the top of the page keeps the reader focused on it. Not to mention, that keeping it at the bottom of the page can be distractive.

    Use it for borders, lines, or other abstract decorative elements

    Try to make something like a teddy bear of silver and gold can be done, but it can also take you hours to do appropriately. Go ahead and take on a big project like that if you have the time, enter client has the budget. If not it’s best to keep things simple.

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    Finding a Professional Printer to Work With

    Like any other business, not all print houses are created equal. To find the best printer for projects that require silver and gold means looking for a printer who has invested in specialty tools. This is not a job for a home printer. If it was you could just do it yourself. When you talk to the printer you need to confirm a few things. First, the printer's business must be actually set up to do silver and gold. Second, you need to see a sample of previous work that included silver and gold. Make sure that the printing of the color is even all over the document, and that the color stands out well and has its characteristic sheen. Finally, find out whether or not the printer sends out projects that use silver and gold, or takes care of it in-house. You may have little recourse for poor quality if your printer has sent out your document.

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    Now that you know how to design for silver and gold, and how to find a printer that can make your designs come to life, there’s nothing to stop you from creating shiny projects for all occasions.