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Questions about color management hardware and software

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  • Questions about color management hardware and software

    We get files in from a variety of clients, anywhere from high-end fashion and architecture done in InDesign to church newsletters done in MS Publisher.

    Of course our clients want the best possible output and we want to make them happy.

    I've been reading about screen and printer calibrating and profiling.

    Most of what I've been reading is focused on photographers. Usually, they talk about printing from Photoshop and Lightroom. We mostly print from PDFs.

    Typically, we'll get a job in, say a program for an event. There will be ads and editorial content. Dozens of photographers and designers could have had a hand in producing the art in the program. All of them could have their systems set up differently.

    When a job like this enters our workflow, how do we color manage it? What gets me is we're supposed to print what the client expects based on what they saw on their monitor. We've never seen their monitor. It's probably never been calibrated.

    In any case, I'm looking to suggest a hardware/software package to calibrate our monitors and printers.

    Another possibility is to have an outside service make ICC profiles for our printers and just calibrate our monitors ourselves. My only hesitation on that is don't you need to recalibrate/profile printers frequently? Our printers came with calibration devices and we calibrate them periodically.

    Ultimately, I'd like to have ICC profiles for all our printers that we could give to our clients so they could softproof on their computers and get an idea of how their job will print. Of course, that would require that their monitors were calibrated and they knew what to do with the ICC profiles.

    Any recommendations on calibration hardware and software? Make out own ICC printer profiles or farm it out?

  • #2
    IMHO you do the same thing that magazine and newspaper publishers do who share the same issue. You print to an industry standard print characteristic (e.g. ISO 12647) and communicate that fact to your customers. It’s up to them to align their file creation to that standard.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by gordo View Post
      IMHO you do the same thing that magazine and newspaper publishers do who share the same issue. You print to an industry standard print characteristic (e.g. ISO 12647) and communicate that fact to your customers. It’s up to them to align their file creation to that standard.
      That is all nice in theory and I expect that a small handful of customers will actually be able to understand the ramifications of 12647 without their brains laminating over, but for Sally Ramsbottom who is in charge of the church flyers you will simply get a glazed look of incomprehension. "But, but... it´s all on the computer, I push this button and that button and my likkle inkjet makes pages!"
      Don´t know, but in my opinion the customers who know what they are talking about will be able to implement a standard but for the other customers, those that you could call a "wildcard" would it not be best to strip out any embedded ICC´s and stay as generic as possible? A lot of customers like, for instance, Sally will be pleased with (To paraphrase what you once said on re-print) "Happy colour."
      Last edited by Slammer; 05-18-2018, 01:02 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Slammer View Post

        That is all nice in theory and I expect that a small handful of customers will actually be able to understand the ramifications of 12647 without their brains laminating over, but for Sally Ramsbottom who is in charge of the church flyers you will simply get a glazed look of incomprehension. "But, but... it´s all on the computer, I push this button and that button and my likkle inkjet makes pages!"
        Don´t know, but in my opinion the customers who know what they are talking about will be able to implement a standard but for the other customers, those that you could call a "wildcard" would it not be best to strip out any embedded ICC´s and stay as generic as possible? A lot of customers like, for instance, Sally will be pleased with (To paraphrase what you once said on re-print) "Happy colour."
        My point was that others who have the same problem - getting files in from a variety of clients, from high-end fashion and architecture done in InDesign to church newsletters done in MS Publisher - deal with it by printing to an established print characteristic/specification. The printer can calibrate their own monitors and printers or develop their own ICC profiles - but that's not going to solve the problem of incorrect client input. stripping out ICC embedded profiles, which is very common, will also not solve the problem of the print not looking like what the client saw on their monitor.

        Other than printing to an established print characteristic/specification the printer could provide some basic education to clients. For example, perhaps in the form of a "cheat sheet" of color reproduction best practices.

        But in the end, you can lead a horse to water with the bump and the bop (but you can't make it do the backstroke.

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