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Tools and Tips for Color Management

(August 2007) posted on Wed Aug 15, 2007

Having trouble managing color in your workflow? This article presents an overview of color management and introduces the solutions and techniques you can use to optimize your output.

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By Stephen Beals

Having said that, it is also true that these lighting conditions would make no sense at all for many screen printers. A small change in light temperature can make a huge change in how we perceive certain colors. That’s why it’s important to view the colors under the conditions that the end-user will view them. So if you’re delivering P-O-P signage to Wal-Mart, you’ll want to view color under Wal-Mart’s lighting conditions.


Aid from the trenches

Ink manufacturers have chased the tail of changing color gamut all their lives, and they are a great source of information and tools for keeping things in control and for keeping you as close to perfect color as science will allow. They know very well all the variables you deal with and have a good handle on how different substrates respond to different ink pigments.

Screen-printing ink companies provide great resources for managing color in the context of screen printing. Many have even created their own swatch books, similar to the ones from Pantone, but using their own inks. Virtually every ink company has its own custom color-matching system.

Trade associations also offer training for those who are interested in the fine points of color management. For example, SGIA offers seminars, and PIA/GATF holds an annual color-management conference. Note that members of these organizations who wish to attend seminars and other events may be eligible for reduced rates.


Four-color process

Printing in four-color process offers its own unique challenges, more so for the screen printers who work with both spot and process colors on the same piece. You might also have occasion to convert spot colors into process colors for printing. If so, you may have been profoundly disappointed that the conversions came out looking muddy or flat. It’s not a probem with your output device, but an issue of color gamut. You simply cannot reproduce a significant number of Pantone solid colors with process-color inks.


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