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Ensuring accurate color replication is an age-old problem that has been helped by and, in some ways, compounded by, advancing (and differing) technologies. Accurate color replication is essential to successful print marketing materials that promote your brand effectively.
The following tips will help you ensure accurate color replication for your next print design project, so your designs will look as great off the press as they do on your computer screen.
Proper monitor calibration is one of the most useful tools for ensuring accurate color replication. Calibrating your monitor essentially allows you to tune the colors on the monitor to the press. Doing this will save time and money when it comes to proofs and revisions. There are hundreds of online tutorials that will walk you through the process; along with quite a few software packages for purchase that automate the process.
There are several companies that offer color match software programs. Some are for purchase, while others are open source and free. All of these programs will offer you a variety of color swatches so that you can match any color scheme. The palettes offered by these pieces of software are endless and help ensure accurate color replication.
If you know the numerical equivalent of a color, place a swatch of it in a file for easy reference in the future. These files can be used for incoming clients as well as inspiration for jobs that still need to be bid or designed. Keep track of the ICC (International Color Code) number on the back of each of these swatches for easy replication in the future. Order complete swatch books; considered necessities by many design experts.
Calibrating your monitors and using color match software are two great ways to ensure accurate color replication, but color variation can still exist from one piece of equipment to the other. The only way you can really ensure accurate color replication is to get a hard copy proof. Normally there is an additional fee from the printer for this, but the money spent will be well justified if you are able to prevent a bad print run from going through the press. Consider it an insurance policy. From the printer's point of view if the client signs off on a proof then you are covered in the event that they change their minds later.
Ensuring accurate color replication is a step in the printing process that can not be skipped. Clients depend on it for brand recognition and printers need it to prevent wasted time and money. Follow the advice here so you can spend less time and money reprinting, and more time running your business for profit.