Pseudo Kraft Effect

Kraft paper or board is a popular effect that we are often asked to print for things like invitations and  business cards.

Unfortunately, Kraft papers aren’t all that suitable for printing on. We can’t blame the paper mills, afterall, Kraft paper is manufactured as cheaply as possible in order to be suitable for packaging – it’s not intended to be printed on, so when you try, the result is often that the ink picks off.

Screenprinting, however, sticks to anything so the screenprinting process works with Kraft boards, but can be expensive and has limitations when it comes to reproducing images and halftones or full colour process.

Nevertheless, Kraft board does look great, so we have a solution that we’ve found works really well.

This is where you scan a sheet of Kraft paper and use this in the background of  your page design (download a base image here), then you can start laying out the balance of your page over the scanned image. The final image is then printed on uncoated, white stock. Of course, we need to print the reverse side of the stock with the same scanned image. Surprisingly, the white core of the paper (the edge) just doesn’t seem to be noticeable and you’d swear the result was a sheet of Kraft.

Printing on an uncoated stock adds to the realism and because the HP Indigo Press produces a much more natural print effect on uncoated paper than most other digital presses, the result looks really authentic. You can also choose the style of Kraft that suits you best – some are darker than others, some lighter – you simply choose a colour that you prefer.

So to get the most realistic result, all your objects (text, images etc) will need to have their transparency mode set to “multiply”. To illustrate this point you’ll see a couple of images in the photo here – the one on the left, we selected Object > Effects and then set the Transparency mode to ‘multiply’. We did the same thing to the blue heading text.

The image on the right we did nothing to it, so it knocked out the scanned background and printed as you would expect it to print on a white piece of board.

It might be that whilst you like the idea of a Kraft board for your design, you don’t actually like how your heading and images look when printed on this board, so it’s re-assuring to know that you can turn off the realism in certain areas.

Our discussion on Kraft paper wouldn’t be complete without telling you about  a stock called Desert Storm.

Desert Storm is a stock that looks a bit like Kraft paper but it has a much better quality milled surface, so it prints really nicely without the ink picking the way normal Kraft boards do.

The upside being, you get the realism but the down side is that (unlike the pseudo Kraft example above) you can’t turn the effect off to make your images pop – the images will take on the hue of the Kraft board whether you want it to or not.

If you’d like to see printed samples, just call in and see us and we’ll be happy to show you.