How Much Color Could be Managed if Color Management Could Manage Color?
When you hear the words “color management” you may think of a general blanket that encompasses the monitoring and ensuring of color correctness. But why would that be important? Isn’t blue always blue and red always red? Not necessarily. Color management actually solves a problem that arises from the capability of each device involved in the creation and production of a printed product to handle a different range of colors.
Consider this scenario: You take a beautiful photo on a high-tech digital camera and on the camera display you see the image. You download the photo to your computer and the display on your monitor presents a very different color scheme. Take it one step further and print out the photo on your desktop printer and you may have a third set of colors staring you in the face. So why the discord? The reason you are seeing such variance is dependent on each device’s ability to process the range of colors intended for output. For example, most electronic devices capture in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and then have to convert to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) to print. So here you face the challenge of the RGB device’s ability to capture the colors, and the CMYK printer’s ability to translate those colors for final print output. Another problem that may arise in a scenario such as this is that your desktop printer more than likely does not have white ink capabilities so therefore the whiteness of the photo is totally dependent on the color of the paper and the clarity of the image. #thestruggleisreal
A typical solution might be to use PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors. A universal “language” that specifies specific colors as number representations; PMS colors are assigned to single inks to match for consistency every time you print. So ins
tead of using a four color (CMYK) build for your company’s red color, you might use PMS 200 every time you print
so that your collateral matches the red across all of your projects since a CMYK color build might output muddy or too vibrant across multiple devices. So what happens when you encounter a device that can’t accommodate – or transversely – a project that is not cost effective to use a PMS?
Enter Color Management – our hero. The controlled conversion between the color representations of various devices and corresponding media for final output, color management allows us to ensure that your printed product looks exactly as it was intended. By correcting a device’s output by altering the date we send to it, or moreover assisting the device with processing the incomin
g color, color management allows us to maintain color output consistency across multiple devices.Consider this specific example: You have a fundraising event coming up that you need three projects printed for and the fundraiser logo and header is a mint green that your graphic designer put together in Adobe InDesign using a CMYK build. The three projects you need are many flyers, a small amount of business cards for each of your volunteers, and a handful of signs for the event. The flyers will run on an offset press to accommodate the large run of static product. The small amount of business cards might run digitally to accommodate the variable names for each individual. And the signage will run on a large format press. Are you worried about your mint green color build across these three devices? Maybe so. But with an experienced color management expert certified to calibra
te those three devices you can rest assured that your green will stay minty across all of your fundraising collateral.
Want to know more about color management? Ask the experts in the comments section below. Dolan is proud to announce our certification as a G7 Master Printer with an in-house G7 Certified Color Expert!