By Gudrun Bonte
What constitutes good colour depends on who one is talking to; it is rather subjective, and depends on what it is the customer is willing to pay for. While that measure must not be an excuse for second-rate work, it certainly helps print providers focus on the end result. It is really that simple.
However, large-format printers and sign shops disclose that producing consistent, predictable colour and matching spot colours is a perpetual challenge for them.
Even though there is no excuse for bad colour, in most jobs there are some colours that are critical while others are not. Corporate and brand colours are very important and investing time in getting them right is worthwhile. For these colours, Pantone colour references are needed, but for other parts of the job “memory colours” are acceptable. Memory colours are those that are naturally identified with objects, e.g. apples are generally red, lemons are mostly yellow, limes are usually green. If the job focuses on a particular variety of these fruits, then a fairly wide spectrum of colour variation is considered.
So, honing in on the relevant colours is a way of reducing production costs and time while still producing work to suit the customer’s taste.
It begins with the brief
Asking key questions at the start of the job is crucial in understanding what the customer desires. For example, which colours are important? What is the Pantone reference for the colours? Is there a swatch or example of the desired result? Is there a preferred substrate?