Color Standards for the Paper Industry

Paper was invented in China, where people began writing on sheets of cloth to keep records. From there, a Chinese court official created a pulp using natural materials and let it dry in a thin mat shape. Paper production has changed over the years to become what we know today. At HunterLab, we are dedicated to helping the paper industry meet color standards and best practices for paper production.

Meeting Color Standards for Paper

White paper may seem like a simple color standard to meet, but getting the right white shade can be challenging when we consider surface properties. While there may be a specific white that all paper manufacturers want to achieve, they must factor how light reflects on different surfaces, from low-gloss matte to high-gloss.

Colors have reflected light and absorbed light, and these measurements affect our perception of the color. Reflected light, however, is not an indicator of the actual color, while absorbed light is. For mid-gloss and high-gloss paper, their shiny surfaces offer a lot of reflected light, and it will skew our perception of the color.

To find the right color, paper manufacturers rely on instruments that offer a quantified measurement for color, rather than counting on the human eye. Machines like spectrophotometers can register the light a surface reflects and absorbs to provide a definitive color measurement. With this method, manufacturers can achieve a consistent white paper in all glosses.

Paper Classification

The paper classification system offers five different types and associated standards for each. The types are:

  • #1: Gloss-coated, wood-free
  • #2: Matte-coated, wood-free
  • #3: Gloss-coated, web
  • #4: Uncoated, white
  • #5: Uncoated, slightly yellowish
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With gloss coating and matte standards changing with new processes, and the small size of category 5, these standards do not reflect modern paper production. Newer standards put a greater focus on shade and brightness as determining factors for color.

The introduction of new color measurements offers greater consistency across types. The color standards for cardboard will be different from printer paper, but with shade and brightness controls, paper manufacturers can conform to standards.

Staying Consistent With Color

Offering a consistent paper color as well as packaging color is valuable to product performance and company success. When your package colors are consistent with your display setups and ad pages, you create uniform branding, making your consumers more aware of your product.

Consistent color across branding methods can be challenging with variations in printing, locations and multiple surface components. While you may feel inclined to create your own brand color, it can be challenging to provide consistency with unique color features. Sticking with Pantone colors can help your brand use the same color palette in various places.

Trust HunterLab for Meeting Color Standards for the Paper Industry

At HunterLab, we specialize in spectrophotometers for accurate, quantifiable color measurement. With our devices, you can create consistent paper colors regardless of the finish. From high-gloss to matte, you can make products that meet paper industry standards. To learn more, contact our team today.

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