Achieving cost-effective colour

Using the correct methods to produce accurate spot colours can make eyeballing a powerful tool.

Using the correct methods to produce accurate spot colours can make eyeballing a powerful tool.

With this input, printing a job—quickly and profitably—immediately becomes easier, but one must never underestimate the final substrate’s impact on the colour. This, too, needs to be accurately accounted for.

Software harmony

Ensuring the consistency of colour management settings throughout the workflow is critical. The colour settings of the design file one receives should match one’s own design and raster image processor (RIP) software. However, this cannot be done automatically and each program needs to be set manually.

The industry recommends using standard red, green, and blue (sRGB) for red, green, and blue (RGB) input/workspace profiles, and General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACol) 2006 Coated for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) input.

The other important settings are the International Colour Consortium (ICC) media profiles. Not only do they ensure the desired colour output, but also save ink and extend the longevity of the print; they also guarantee consistency and repeatability.

The correct media profiles should be easy to find and investing time in doing so will pay dividends. Printer manufacturers and resellers have extensive databases of profiles, so do RIP providers and media websites.

Even with this information, it is still possible to produce unsaleable print if the wrong assumptions are made.

Profile settings are specifically tuned not only to the media type, but also to the finish (matte, gloss), ink, print speed, and output device. Therefore, choosing the wrong setting can result in unsaleable waste. If one cannot find the exact substrate, they must choose the closest one possible, keeping the speed and resolution in mind.

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