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Keys to Color Management

(May 2008) posted on Mon May 12, 2008

Twelve critical factors in implementing a successful color strategy.

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By Stephen Beals

Second, since many print providers need to deal with a wide range of substrates, some grouping can be done. Sometimes, very different substrates have very similar color characteristics, whereas seemingly similar media can have quite different color response. For this reason, it’s most important to group media in terms of color characteristics rather than media type, and sometimes the media that can be grouped together for profiling purposes might surprise you.

Finally, if you have a range of similar devices, profile the device that falls in the middle, and make sure the total Delta E difference is not more than your tolerance factor.

Five: Finding a Remote Alternative

Often, it’s not cost effective to run hard-copy proofs. Properly calibrated monitor proofs can be useful, but it’s critical that the monitor on which the proof is viewed is also calibrated.

"Monitor proofing is a hotbed of controversy, and it doesn’t need to be," says Dan Caldwell, VP of operations for Integrated Color Solutions, developer of Remote Director. "The problem is that there are so many definitions of soft proofing, and people need to adjust their expectations so that they match a solution’s capabilities."

"The range of soft proofing requirements, on all different workflows, is tremendous," says Vicki Blake, ICS vice president of business development. "At one extreme you have people sharing simple PDFs to check copy placement; and at the other you’ve got Fortune 100 companies doing contract-quality checks with their agency, printer, and designer-each in a separate corner of the world, and each knowing that what they are looking at is precisely the same as what everyone else is looking at, and most importantly, that the color is perfect."

Six: Viewing Conditions

Many print providers are well aware of the difference lighting conditions can have on color perception. And the common commercial-printing solution of 5000-degree Kelvin color booths may not be good for the print provider, according to Summers. "A lot of shops have lighting based on their client’s viewing conditions. They set up special lighting in their facilities to match what the customer will really see," whether it be florescent store lighting or outdoor lighting for billboards.