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Implementing Color Management in Tough Times

(March 2009) posted on Mon Mar 16, 2009

Tips to ensure color quality even when there's not much money to spare.

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By Stephen Beals

Several companies have gotten into the business of putting complete bundled systems from a variety of vendors together for you as a package, often including training and installation. Chromaticity is one such vendor; it not only supplies software, it also sells media and even has its own branded servers for the EFI RIPs it sells. Other bundling possibilities include Eizo Monitors, X-Rite calibration tools, Integrated Color Solutions (ICS) virtual proofing, and a variety of training and support packages.

In a similar vein, a group of color-management specialists have teamed up to form the Color Management Group (CMG, CMG is essentially an alliance of color-management consultants and systems integrators, so it really serves as a place to find experts in your area who can provide the hardware and software as well as the technical expertise to create a custom CM solution for your specific needs. What is unique about this alliance is they all know one another, and even though they are competitors in one sense, each offers his or her own unique expertise, and group members often refer clients to one another if someone else is a better fit. In 2008, the group also held a conference called Extreme Color Management.

Meanwhile, other companies working in or adjacent to the color-management space have been tweaking their own CM offerings:

* SA International (SAi) has created a suite of Color Solutions tools to aid in color measurement and management. Its Sprint color-measurement hardware (a spectrophotometer coupled with 'scan wide aperture' technology), Snap color-profiling software, and the ColorExcel color-control application are designed to give print providers a fast, easy-to-use solution for color consistency.

* EFI's Colorproof XF proofing and production solution added remote-proofing capabilities plus support for Pantone's new Goe System last year. Its XF Satellite configuration is designed for customers working across multiple locations who need to process, print, and verify remote printing file (RPF) formats or "remote containers." Users can now directly process print jobs containing Pantone Color separations and automatically produce color-accurate output of the complete print job.