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Go to any TV retailler and watch the same program on different TV models. They don't all display the same color? This is a simple but obvious proof of the value of color management in the Graphic Arts market. Our business is complex, we need to view, proof and print images and pages as accurately as possible.

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We use changing color spaces: RGB (red, green, blue) for photography, and we print in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Not to mention that images and layouts are produced using different hardware, software and technologies. Pages are printed using different inks, pigments, papers and substrates, or different printing processes, both analog and digital. All of this affects how the color will be reproduced.

The Need for a Color Managed Workflow

Without color management in the workflow, how will you control color throughout your many work processes? How will you meet or exceed your customers' expectations?

Only by using ICC-based color management can you accurately control color throughout your workflow. With a properly configured system, color conversions will be accurate, proofs will match expected print products, and files arriving at press will be prepared according to press and paper output specifications and profiles.

All this reduces file processing and turnaround times. And speeds up the process to the print room.

Automated color management

If you are using a Web-to-Print solution, an automated color management system can be very important for preparing incoming files for your output device.

Many production RIPs that control output devices have very good color management, which can allow for the automation of converting files into the correct ICC profiles for the print condition, namely the press and the media. These RIPs are also often combined with tools to calibrate or re-profile the digital output device.

If this hands-off approach doesn't work for you, there are many other ways to introduce color management automation into systems and software used in the workflow:

  • PDF preflighting software often allows you to control areas of color management within PDF files that you need to correct.
  • Desktop color management within programs such as Adobe CS or Quark Xpress can be automated and controlled.
  • Specialized color management server software that can automate color conversions of many files, including PDFs, to normalize the file for the output device.

A quantifiable return on investment

A color management system and policy, if properly tailored to your needs, market and workflow, saves time, improves quality and reduces waste in many areas.

  • Reduce production time.
  • Reduce image and page rework.
  • Reduce the number of proofing cycles required.
  • Reduce the number of reprints.
  • Reduced volume of materials, waste, energy costs.
  • Reduction in transportation costs.
  • Reduced time associated with sales and proofing management, color problems and complaints.

Not to mention the confidence your customers have in your ability to meet their requirements, which will naturally be reflected in your sales and profits.



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