What Impact Does Color Printing Have on Education?

Wednesday January 24, 2019


How often do you print in color? For a long time, color printer ink has been a luxury for many consumers. It was reserved for special events – DIY wedding invitations, business proposals or the occasional digital photo.

But in education, the link between color printouts and comprehension – as well as engagement – has been shown to be strong. A report from Xerox highlighted the following data:

  • Fifty-four percent of students are more likely to read a handout that’s printed in color
  • Nearly seven in 10 students can better comprehend new information when delivered through a color format
  • More than three-quarters of students report having better information recall when they read it on a color page

The Impact of Color in the Classroom

Spiceworks, a business providing IT professionals and technology vendors with products and resources, hosted a video with a printing expert from HP and psychologies whose experiences are unique to the discussion of color printing and education.

“It makes content look that much richer, and it’s more memorable – there are lots of reasons for printing in color,” said Nigel Smith, HP Americas PageWide Product Manager and a 15-year veteran of the printing industry.

In addition, students with special needs or learning disorders benefit from color printing in the classroom.

“One of the most common accommodations that we use for students with dyslexia is colored transparency overlays that go over the text they’re reading,” explained Dr. Han Ren, a licensed clinical and school psychologist from Austin, Texas. “The idea is that that this reduces the contrast between the text and the background, and that improves the readability of the text, that reduces the eye strain and that, in turn, improves concentration and reading comprehension.”

In her role, she helps diagnose learning disorders and emotional disturbances to help support teachers and parents in providing students with special needs. She also taught pre-K special education for three years in the Teach for America program.

“So, one of the most common things that we do is provide students with colored overlays in their optimal color – each student has an individualized color that they tend to respond the best to,” Ren said.

As a result, they are better able to focus on the text and reduced the amount of garbled text that appears.

The Psychology of Color

In addition to helping students with learning challenges overcome obstacles to reading comprehension, the color of the printed materials can have a marked psychological impact on readers. Here are some ways people react to different colors:

  • Red – A strong color, red is frequently used to grab readers’ attention and spur them to action. In an educational context, educators may use red to emphasize due dates for assignments.
  • Orange – Providing a sense of warmth and cheerfulness, orange is used by many commercial brands. School organizations and clubs might consider using this happy tone to foster a welcoming atmosphere and attract members.
  • Yellow – Like red, yellow tones are great for attracting people’s attention. Whereas red is better used to inspire others to take action, yellow is a better fit for highlighting school performance dates and similar activities to make sure people know when they’re happening.
  • Green – This color has become almost synonymous with environmentalism and sustainability. At the same time, it’s used to evoke feelings of durability, reliability, nature, relaxation and freshness.
  • Blue – A color adopted by many large businesses, blue conveys professionalism, loyalty and trust. Educators may consider using this color when communicating changes in school policies or other announcements.
  • Purple – This color helps convey a feeling of power and sophistication, as well as mystery and magic. It’s the ideal color when working with younger students on schoolwork related to different literature themes.

Considering the wide breadth of topics covered by educators at different levels, color printing can have a big impact on how students receive and process information. With that in mind, it’s important for members of the faculty and administration to work in color printing in the most economical ways throughout the year.

How to Bring More Color to the Classroom

Budgets of school districts and individual schools vary widely across the United States, which can push educators to create ad-hoc solutions.

For instance, a teacher in a low-income district may need to bring his or her own inkjet printer into the classroom to create color materials. According to Smith, this isn’t all that uncommon, but it can expose the school to IT security risks by having a network of non-secure printers. Meanwhile, there’s a lack of consistency between classrooms.

Purchasing color printer ink cartridges at a lower cost is one easy fix. Cartridge World offers consumers high-quality ink and toner cartridges at up to 30 percent off the standard retail cost. We also offer unbiased, individualized printer advice, helping you understand which device will best suit your needs.

To find a local Cartridge World store near you, visit us here.