Color Management--Degrees of Separation
The subjective nature of color evaluation compounds the perceived problems—often driving critics to throw up their hands and give up on the hope of ever receiving the consistency that is desired.
For example, many commercial printers are fans of the International Color Consortium (ICC) and recognize ICC profiles as the only viable building blocks for delivering consistent color from device to device in today's printing environment. ICC profiles, they contend, allow them to calibrate monitors, scanners and a gamut of output devices to ensure correct color throughout a print job.
Why is this significant?
All monitors see color differently, as do input and output devices. ICC profiles provide commercial printers the opportunity to reduce some of the discrepancies from device to device. For example, chasing consistent color in any print production workflow can be a task likened to that of a German Shepherd chasing its tail while wearing roller skates on its paws—and balancing a glossary of color terms on its head as it barks the National Anthem.
Get the picture? Too many variables.
The most intelligent way to predict color, edit color and reproduce color is to reduce or eliminate as many of the color variables as possible in the workflow. ICC profiles help design firms, as well as prepress and print production professionals, in this task.
Using ICC profiles gives creative professionals the ability to predict color and to communicate it more efficiently from person to person, device to device, in a print production workflow. An ICC profile describes the manner in which a color device displays color and its color gamut.
An interesting case profile of color control and calibration linked to ICC profiling is Bloomington Offset Process Inc. (BOPI), a family owned, 50-plus-year-old printer that, in the past five years, has invested millions upon millions of dollars in modernizing its prepress and pressroom facilities. One of BOPI's top areas of concentration is color management and the incorporation of ICC profiles.