Your Color Expert Left—What Now?

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Jun 24, 2024 2:01:27 PM
Roger P. Gimbel, EDP
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Color consistency is vital to maintaining brand fidelity. With more campaigns being run on multipleemployee leaving-1 devices and substrates, and with customers moving to printing on demand, maintaining color across the board is more challenging than ever.

And yet it’s necessary as color expertise may be one of those competitive advantages that sets your business apart. If your company suddenly looses the color whisperer who helps nurture that advantage, it could be tricky to maintain the status quo. But it’s not impossible. You can still support color consistency, meet customer expectations, and ensure production quality remains high with an effective color workflow system.

Color Workflow

Start by ensuring all your devices are working in peak condition. If color shifts across a particular screen, or on a press sheet, you will need to fix or replace those devices.

Then calibrate every single device that is involved in getting the file to press. This includes your monitors, your proofing devices, and your printing equipment. A common standard for calibrating your equipment is the G7 method, the IDEAlliance set of specifications. If you calibrate all your devices to the same standard, the output should look quite similar across platforms.

Once calibrated, it’s a good idea to establish a regular schedule to check whether recalibration is necessary. Sometimes things shift that cause color fidelity to decline so printers must bring their devices back to the standard.

color conformity

Color Profiles

Ensure you map the color reproduction characteristics for all your devices, including monitors, proofing devices and presses, with tools like a spectrophotometer. This tool helps you describe the color space or gamut of a device and provides the data necessary for developing ICC color profiles.

The profiles must be shared among all your devices. Color data is embedded in files that travel from one device to another and helps ensure all of them are working from the same information. It’s important to capture this data regularly so you can adjust if parameters begin to shift.

Your clients will play an important role in this process as the quality of the files and images they send you will have a significant impact on what you output. Make sure your clients are sending you files with the right ICC color profiles that match your device profiles. Work with them so they can set up files properly, specify color or convert to CMYK, and follow other specs you require for your presses.

Pay attention to the lighting you will use for looking at proofs. If you don’t have one, consider investing in a light booth with different lighting models. These devices allow you to see the printed piece in lighting environments that match how the product will be used.

Less Reliance on a Color Expert

The good news is that newer models of printing equipment are G7 qualified, and all come with necessary software that allows you adjust and monitor the settings. Most equipment manufacturers will be happy to help you properly calibrate and profile your devices. An independent third-party like Gimbel & Associates can also help you set up a proper color workflow and conduct regular audits. Click this link to watch Color Conformity and why it matters to your Brand! – a special webinar featuring Randy Hardy, Sr. Consultant at G&A and David Hunter, CEO, ChromaChecker - color management system.

Well-functioning equipment, correct calibration, color profiles, and the right software for sharing data in your production line all contribute to an effective color management environment. With these components in place, you should have a high expectation that output will be consistent across all devices and substrates, and on future repeat jobs.

Color management and consistency is not always easy. In fact, it can be highly technical. A dedicated color expert is a wonderful asset to have on staff but they should not be a single point of failure. Assembling the building blocks of a proper color workflow will always stand you in good stead.


Topics: news, color, G7 certification, color management, color profile, ICC, color expert, color matching

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