As we plan for 2018, color management is one of the things you need to revisit and ensure that you have fully optimized.

Let’s do some color management!

Predictable and repeatable color is the cornerstone to producing quality printed materials. Color management allows the right color to be reproduced across many different print processes and for customers to know that their message is being effectively communicated to their target audience. So whether it is G7, ISO or your own targets, these all allow the right color to be achieved each and every time. At regular intervals your accuracy and consistency should be checked, which leads directly to the next question….

Is my production operating as it was when I last color managed?

It is essential to know that all of your presses are operating in the same condition as they were when your last color management was performed. Too many times, on all types of presses, we see changes in the mechanical performance, the consumables used or the color management settings themselves having been altered or changed. The first reaction is often “color management is not working!”, but in reality, the print condition needs to be first checked. Then, if possible, bring the press back to the same conditions it was at when color management was last carried out. If this is not possible, for example you have changed my inks, and then it is time to carry out new color management.

Calibration, instruments and settings should not be forgotten!

Your instrumentation all needs to be calibrated to the manufacturer’s specifications and known to be in good working order. The way in which color information is communicated is critical, especially when going between different instruments – changes in the instrument settings will lead to errors and loss of confidence in the use of instrumentation. This is further exacerbated depending on whether a M0, M1, M2 or an M3 instrument was used to measure the prints. Whether it is CIE Lab color or CxF data, all of these things need to be in agreement.

Think about your spot colors

When setting up spot colors, the results are much better using tools that use Spot Color Tone Value (SCTV) rather than traditional dot gain. SCTV provides a much better tone ramp that correlates to what we see visually. The use of Extended Color Gamut’s, such as the Prinect Multicolor Toolset, provides the opportunity to both improve the color match, increase press productivity and improve profitability. This is a topic that will continue to grow in importance throughout 2018, with much work is being done to leverage the benefits for printers and their customers.

Closing thoughts

Color is key component to the printing workflow, attention to procedures, standards, and specifications must be noted to achieve predictable and consistent color quality. The correct tools and know-how not only make color management successful but easy to implement. It’s no longer a mysterious magical thing, but rather a process that needs to be followed and monitored.  Boring is best!

Several members of the Prinect color team will be at the PIA Color Conference, January 13th to 16th in San Diego, we hope to see you there.

For more information on the PIA Color Conference, click here.