User login

Keys to Color Management

(May 2008) posted on Mon May 12, 2008

Twelve critical factors in implementing a successful color strategy.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Stephen Beals

Three: Assess Your Skill Level

It’s also important to realistically assess the skills of your operators. Large shops can afford to hire someone whose job it is to do quality control and troubleshoot; others are lucky enough to have someone on staff who knows everything there is to know about the LAB color space, spectrophotometry, color calibration, and the effects of color temperature and so on. It’s likely that most shops don’t have such expertise and must rely on outside consultants to keep things on track and running smoothly. While color management is not rocket science, there are a lot of ways to do it wrong. And it’s important to be realistic about how much you can do without help.

Four: Know How to Use the Data

Color-management consultants often run into users who simply don’t understand how to use the data they are generating in the calibration and profiling process. The most common error is taking the profile from one machine and applying it to another machine that operates in a completely different color space. While it may be possible to create a profile that is a "happy medium" between three similar machines with a common color space, many folks take a profile for an inkjet device and attempt to "tweak it" to fit the color space of a color laser printer. Not only does this create a lot more work, but the primary problem is that you are dealing with apples and oranges-you wind up limiting the output of all the devices in the system and creating a monstrous data-management problem.

It can be helpful to simply decrease the number of profiles that need to be built in your shop. First, if you are using one printing device for proofing, ensure that it is the device with the widest possible color gamut so it can effectively simulate all of the machines that actually produce final output. A good rule of thumb: You can always "dumb it down," but you can’t add to the color gamut of the device.