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Zeroing in on New Ways to Match Color

(July 2008) posted on Thu Jul 24, 2008

Visually judging the accuracy of color between printed samples is a process that many printers use. Unfortunately, this method leads to downtime and waste. Here you


By Bruce Ridge

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If the printer has one proof for ap-proval on press, which is a universally accepted practice in all printing, and the solid ink density of the cyan on that proof is 1.32, the proof is within SWOP proofing tolerances. Then, if the printer runs the solid ink density of the cyan to a 1.45 on press, that too will be within SWOP on-press tolerances. The problem is that color approval will be based on the visual comparison of the print to the proof. And we all know that a solid ink variation of 1.32-1.45 will probably result in a visual difference in any parts of the image where cyan prints at a percentage greater than 50%. There is an almost guaranteed difference in areas where cyan prints solid or at 100%.

The point is that using one visual representation of an image, such as a proof, is practicing absolute zero color tolerancing. And this leads directly to press downtime as someone determines whether the printed image is as close as it’ll get to the proof within the time allowed to deliver the job. This is an example of printers doing things the way they do them simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

But things have changed. Digital proofing has become the predominate method of evaluation for all the printing processes. Most printers have found digital proofing to be a superior way to proof images, because they can create more accurate proofs in house and for less money. Unfortunately, that’s as far as most printers usually take it. This is where we need to apply some new practices.


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