Staying Ahead of Color in a Print and Packaging Workflow
The following post was submitted by Color 2015 sponsor, X-Rite Pantone.
Author: Mark Gundlach, Solutions Architect, X-Rite Pantone
In a print and packaging workflow, there are many places where color can go wrong. However, implementing good process control makes it possible to achieve predictable, repeatable color. Fine-tuning your print workflow is not as hard as you may think, and the increasing availability of affordable tools is making it easier than ever.
Today we’ll look at the top five places where printers and converters can achieve stability to save time and money, improve quality, and increase the possibility of repeat business.
1. Set up a proper color-managed workflow.
From specification through production to final inspection, your color must stay true. But when each device you use to capture and reproduce color uses slightly different RBG or CMYK formulas, it’s not always an easy task. Small errors along the way can lead to output that fails to meet the customer’s expectations with rejects and rework. The best way to ensure that each of your devices is sharing accurate color information is to use the proper hardware and software to set up a color-managed workflow.
First, you need to confirm that your devices are all capable of achieving repeatable, accurate color. For instance, if your press can’t produce consistent color from day to day, then there’s not much color management can do to help. Next, calibrate and optimize each device to achieve the best color reproduction possible. Achieving proper color on press is a combination of the substrates, proper inks, calibrated plates, and press settings that produce the right solid ink colors and tint/tone values. This is all part of the “fingerprinting” process.
You will need ICC profiles to produce proofs that match your press. You can also use ICC profiles for converting your files so the printed work better matches the original file. And in some cases you may want to make a custom ICC profile of the press, or calibrate the press to match a print standard like SWOP® or GRACoL®, then use the print standard profile for proofing or converting your files.