Companies today are showcasing their brands everywhere: on buses, posters, banners, signs, apparel, exhibit graphics, and decals, usually with help from more than one print shop, and almost always with production from several different types of print technology. The result is that print shop providers are often being tasked with matching color from commercially printed pieces, or from other printers’ digitally printed pieces. Trying to achieve a shared visual appearance between products printed on different media with different printers can be challenging. That’s where good color management can make all the difference.
In the past, each time a printing job was moved from one device or type of printing to another the result was a wider and wider range for any given color. Today, print technology manufacturers are working with third parties and their own research teams to develop software, hardware and ink solutions that help bring consistency and accuracy to your color prints.
The pace of innovation in color management for digital printing has accelerated in the past five years, largely in response to demand from PSPs to emulate colors printed by lithography. One of the biggest areas of advancement is in color management software. The newest RIP solutions provide options like spot color, color profiling, and the ability auto-generate special color layers in white, metallic, gloss or primer, along with offering access to complete color libraries. In addition, many RIPs now have the ability to easily transfer color values to other devices made by the same manufacturer.
Many print technology manufacturers are also offering hardware, such as hand-held spectrophotometers and densitometers, that can quickly translate color swatches to printable color data. The data is transferred from the device into the manufacturer’s RIP software, which locates the most approximate color space for the output, resulting in the best possible shared visual appearance.
A final component of improved color management is the evolution of inks. Manufacturers are offering more ink set options than ever, including new ink colors like orange and green, that enlarge the available color gamut and make it easier to attain the color consistency that clients are looking for.
Today’s digital printing color management software, hardware, and ink options provide color consistency and guarantee the most accurate shared visual appearance from proof to print, from printer to printer, and from job to job. Putting this advanced technology to work in your shop will make the color management process easier, faster and more accurate, and will keep your clients coming back for more.