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Digital Printing on Colored Paper
19 December 2023
Digital Printing on Colored Paper

GF Smith Colorplan is an absolute game changer when it comes to colored paper for printing. With its striking color selection and no white edges, there's no doubt why so many gravitate towards this color printing paper.

However, printing with GFSmith paper is not always as straightforward as it may seem.

Color Printing Paper Vs White Paper: What Is The Difference?

It’s a common misconception that a printed color on one paper will be exactly the same on another. But this simply isn’t the case, especially with colored paper for printing.

Colored toners used in print are semi-transparent. This slightly see-through quality is how the 4 colors of CMYK blend together to create hundreds unique color tones.

Printing onto white paper vs colored paper

With white paper, the see-through nature of the toner isn’t obvious. This is due to a white background essentially being “empty”, allowing the colored toners to mix without any disruption.

GF Smith paper, on the other hand, provides an extra color for the toners to mix with. Now instead of cyan and magenta joining to make purple, cyan, magenta, and the color of the paper background will mix. This will leave you with a color that is usually much darker than what you intended.

We don’t want you to be disappointed in your colored paper prints. This is why we have split our GF Smith selection up into three parts based on what kind of printing they are most suitable for.

Our Complete GF Smith Colorplan Range

Currently, we have 22 shades of GFSmith Colorplan papers in our collection. From the palest of pinks to the richest of blacks and everything in between, there’s a lot to cover. Let’s get started with our lightest GF Smith papers.

Lighter Shades: Full-Color Companions

Our lightest Colorplan shades feature 8 different color tones. This group of papers is light enough for full-color printing, with little to no effect on the final printed colors. Of course, there will always be differences in color from the screen to the print. But with these color printing papers, that difference isn’t too detrimental to your designs.

White Frost

Okay, so White Frost isn’t technically a colored paper for printing - it is white after all. However, White Frost is still part of the GF Smith family so it would be a little mean to leave it out of this lineup.

White Frost is a pure and strong white paper. If you are looking for semi-textured white paper for your painting and decorating business cards, White Frost is the one for you. Being white, this paper has the least overall effect on the appearance of printed colors.

White Frost paper with snowboarder design


As the name suggests, Natural paper has a “natural” look. This GF Smith paper has an unbleached appearance, being more of an off-white tone. If you are looking for a light, rustic paper for your business stationery, Natural is the perfect choice.

Natural paper with wildlife design

Real Grey

Real Grey is the first of 2 grey GF Smith papers we have up for grabs. This paper shade is a muted grey, light enough for full-color printing but not so light to be mistaken as white. Real Grey is the ideal background if you are searching for sleek and classic branded print materials.

Real Grey paper with Easter Island design

Azure Blue

If you are searching for a true baby blue for your baby shower invites, let us direct you toward Azure Blue. With just a touch of icy blue, Azure Blue is a wonderfully delicate blue shade of GF Smith. Of the three blue papers we have available, Azure Blue sure is the softest in tone.

Azure paper with snow cabin design


Soft and calm, Lavender GF Smith paper wouldn’t look too out of place in a summer’s lavender field. This lighter purple shade is one of the three purple tones featured in this list. Lavender paper is a lovely choice for designs embracing the feminine, with printed belly bands being a top pick here in the studio.

Lavender paper with lavender field design

Candy Pink

Candy Pink is a confectioner’s dream. At the palest of pinks, Candy Pink is the lighter of the two pink shades we have available. Much like Azure Blue, Candy Pink is another great choice for baby shower invitations, being a beautifully soft baby pink in color.

Candy Pink paper with shop front design

Sorbet Yellow

Whoever over at GF Smith named this paper Sorbet Yellow got the description bang on. With a muted yellow coloring, never has a paper looked so delicious. Our favorite choice for Sorbet Yellow Colorplan is full-color backing cards. What better way to display your enamel pins than with a colorful printed paper backdrop?

Sorbet Yellow paper with beach design


The last of our lighter GF Smith Colorplan papers, Stone is the darkest shade in this group. A true beige, Stone paper provides a neutral background to your printed designs. If you are on the lookout for a paper with a rustic feel that isn't too dark, Stone will be right up your street.

Stone paper with fossil dinosaur design

Medium Colors: Black Print Friends

This next group of colored papers are too dark to take full-color printing. The color changes are too great, so we've removed that option altogether. Black print, however, provides a stunning contrast to each of these paper shades, making it the best choice for your prints.

Factory Yellow

Factory yellow is a true yellow, incredibly bright, and a great background for black print. Being yellow, this paper color creates such a contrast with the black print - it is an absolute delight to see. Making a statement with your prints is easy with such a bold color as a background.

Factory Yellow paper with rubber duck design


Landing right in the middle of yellow and orange, Citrine is less of a pure orange but nowhere near a true yellow. All our GFSmith Colorplan papers can be double-stacked to create thick business cards, with Citrine being one of our customer favorites. With its colorful hue, business cards with Citrine edges are hardly going to be forgotten.

Citrine paper with lucky cat design

Bright Red

Bright Red is exactly what the name suggests. It is red and it is bright! Of the two red shades we have available, Bright red is more of a true red. This GF Smith Colorplan paper is a wonderful choice for the center of our colorcore business cards, with the eye-catching red showing along the sides.

Bright Red paper with farm design


If Bright Red is pure red, then Scarlet is a deep, rich wine red. Scarlet is the darker of our two red colored papers, making it the classier of the duo. This Colorplan paper is a great pick for gold foil Christmas cards, with the gold foil popping against the red background.

Scarlet paper with Chinese dragon design

Fuchsia Pink

This bold pink paper is the standout from our two pink papers. Fuchsia is the closest you’ll ever get to a neon pink on paper. If you want to upgrade your marketing materials with a distinctive pink tone, then Fuchsia Pink is the one for you.

Fuchsia Pink paper with carousel design


Our Purple GFSmith paper is the second of our three purple papers. This shade of purple sits right in the middle of light and dark, making it the ideal mid-toned paper. If you’re looking for inspiration for this paper color, then look no further than holographic foil bookmarks.

Tabriz Blue

Tabriz Blue is a medium blue-toned Colorplan paper stock. With a cyan background, you aren’t going to be able to find a truer blue elsewhere. This Colorplan shade is a sure way to get your birthday invitations to stand out from the rest. Just don't forget to keep your designs black.

Tabriz Blue paper with lighthouse design

Marrs Green

The last of our mid-toned colors, Marrs Green is a unique green colored printing paper. Marrs Green is not a traditional green, you could almost say it’s out of this world! The color of the paper has a slight hint of blue to it, adding an interesting quality to the paper. Getting this shade of green using print is difficult, so save yourself the hassle and go with a GFSmith Colorplan instead.

Marrs Green paper with space design

Dark Colors: Metallic Foil Fantasy

This final lineup includes only the darkest shades of GF Smith Colorplan. Being so dark prevents these papers from showing any print. Instead, it's metallic foil's time to shine. There's still plenty of choice when it comes to your designs, with over 10 unique foil colors to pick between.

Forest Green

Forest Green never disappoints when paired with metallic foiling. This dark green paper is the right choice for woodland-themed wedding invitations, providing a deep, beautiful green background to match your special day. Our favorite foil combinations with Forest Colorplan are gold, copper and silver, the classics of course.

Forest Green paper with gold foil fairy house design


Sapphire GFSmith paper is the last of our blue-colored printing papers. With a navy blue tone, this Colorplan paper is a staple within our paper collection. A creative choice for this Colorplan paper is foiled envelopes. What better way to customize your foil invitations than with sparkling envelopes to match?

Sapphire paper with gold foil cat and flashlight design


The final purple paper in our lineup, Amethyst provides a royal purple background for your designs. Although all our foil colors look great with Amethyst, we love it when people step outside the box and try our pink and purple foils with this paper color. It’s an absolute treat for our studio.

Amethyst paper with gold foil crystal ball design

Bitter Chocolate

Out of all our GFSmith papers, Bitter Chocolate is our only real brown. Bitter Chocolate is a cool-toned brown, with a dark and slightly muted appearance. Our personal favorites for this colored printing paper are foiled certificates. The brown background combined with our gold or copper foil is a dream to see.

Bitter Chocolate paper with gold foil chocolate box design

Dark Grey

Bordering on black, Dark Grey is our second grey colorful printing paper we have to show. Dark Grey is a neutral-toned grey, making it ideal for corporate booklet covers and foiled tickets. If you like dark paper but don't want to go all the way to black, Dark Grey is the best choice.

Dark Grey paper with gold foil treasure cave design


And finally, the last colored printing paper in this list. Ebony is, understandably, our most popular Colorplan paper. With its midnight black color, this Colorplan paper is perfect for all kinds of printing projects. From foiled playing cards to gold foil bookmarks, Ebony can be found almost everywhere.

Ebony paper with gold foil firework city design

How To Get The Most From Your Designs When Printing On Colored Cardstock

When printing on colorful paper, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind when creating your designs.

Remember that we do not print white. White toner is currently not an available option here at Aura Print. Any white space within your designs will not be white when applied to the GF Smith paper of your choice. Instead, they will be the color of your chosen paper.

Full-color printing onto colorful paper will result in your designs taking on some of the color from that paper. Depending on your design, this can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your print.

The main thing to be affected by this is photographs. We recommend lightening any photographs you would like to print onto GF Smith Colorplan. This will prevent any red-faced portraits or too dark landscape photos from passing through our presses.

Choosing The Right GF Smith Paper

Picking the right Colorplan paper can be tough. With so many beautiful colors to choose from, it can be hard to make up your mind. Luckily for you, we've created a sample pack that includes all our GFSmith Colorplan papers for you to view in the flesh.

Don't forget, GF Smith can be found in single and double thickness, as well as a pop of color along our colorcore business cards.

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