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Freeman Decorating Sets Up Remote Proofing System

(April 2003) posted on Tue Apr 08, 2003

To help manage expectations for packages of trade-show graphics

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The other primary objective of Freeman's remote-proofing system is to manage customer expectations so clients don't experience any unpleasant surprises when the trade-show graphics are delivered and installed. Graphics printed with dye-based aqueous inks on glossy photobase media on an Encad NovaJet have a much wider color gamut than graphics printed with pigmented, solvent-based inks on banner material on Freeman's Nur Salsa or Vutek machines. Because Onyx PosterShop software can simulate Salsa, Vutek, and Encad output on the HP Designjet proofer, Freeman's account executives can now show clients in advance how significant the color differences might be. The reps can then give their clients this choice: Would they prefer to have the most vibrant colors possible on some of their graphics? Or do they want the colors on all of their graphics on different substrates to match? For clients who choose matched colors, Freeman's graphics-production technicians can compress the gamut of the Encad output to match that of the Vutek and Salsa devices.

Managing customer expectations can be particularly important if any of the graphics will be dye-sublimated onto fabrics or carpet, says Freeman graphic technician Elmedin "Memo" Nuhbegovic. Colors on dye-sub-printed fabrics and carpets typically appear much more muted than they appear on photobase media. Although Freeman's hard-copy proofing provides an early warning system of this situation, the simulated output from the Designjet proofer isn't an entirely accurate preview of how the finished job will look. The Designjet proofing device and Onyx software can only simulate the whiteness of the print substrate--not color-changing characteristics such as texture, surface reflectance, and variations in lighting within different exhibition halls. In fact, the color of dye-sub printed carpets can even vary depending on which way the carpet is vacuumed.

Freeman's development of a remote-proofing system follows the successful development of a system-wide color-managed workflow, that utilizes color-measuring instruments and software from GretagMacbeth. After several years of learning and trial-and-error experimentation, all of the scanners, monitors, and digital printing devices used by Freeman Decorating are now profiled and kept calibrated.