For those who have taken the plunge successfully, however, the benefits range from material savings, faster makereadies, the ability to venture into remote proofing, providing a color-consistent product and improved customer satisfaction.

Still, getting to that point isn’t half the battle; it’s the entire war. “You don’t come in one weekend and set up a color management system,” notes Gregory Hill, manager of electronic systems for Sandy Alexander in Clifton, NJ. “It’s an evolving process. You are always going to be tweaking and maintaining the system.”

Color Odyssey

Sandy Alexander’s most recent odyssey with color calibration began when it switched from a CMYK environment in prepress to an RGB color space. “We switched to an RGB workflow because we now receive files from a wide variety of sources. We have some clients who are very precise with their files and some that lack the knowledge to prepare their files correctly. In either case, we have to make it work. Plus, a wider color gamut is more in demand (from print buyers) than ever before.

“With CMYK separations, we are starting with a gamut that is more compressed,” he adds, “but we need to achieve a significantly broader gamut. RGB seemed like a more natural way to work. It also led us to rethink how we manage color, because with an RGB workflow you must have proper color management.”

Sandy Alexander’s first step was to hire a color consultant to help it work through its color management issues. The company now uses GretagMacbeth’s SpectroScan, ProfileMaker 4.0 and ProfileCity ICC Display.

Hiring a consultant is a recommendation that MVP’s Graves seconds. “To be really successful, you do need to bring a consultant in to talk about the theory of color, especially when you are first getting into it,” he claims.

But a color consultant isn’t a prerequisite for success, according to Blayne Jensen, prepress supervisor and systems manager at Lorraine Press in Salt Lake City. Instead, Jensen took on the challenge of becoming his own color expert. Lorraine Press uses Agfa’s ColorTune 4.0 and X-Rite’s Spectrofiler software.

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