Breaking down the barriers to achieving optimal colour management

April 04, 2018

Guaranteeing consistency of colour reproduction across devices and substrates has always been a challenge for the wide-format print sector - but it doesn’t have to be.

Here we explore some of the key colour management challenges faced by wide-format print shops and explain why achieving consistency across different outputs doesn’t have to be a dark art.

What makes colour management for wide-format print so challenging?

Typically, 35% of the time on a print job is spent getting ‘print-ready’ and 20% on color management. Creating ICC profiles, device calibration and ensuring consistent output across different inks and substrates are just some of the elements that make up the colour management workflow so it’s easy to see how the time and resource allocated to colour management can quickly run over if any issues occur.

If printer settings are inconsistent, colour management can become guesswork with operators required to check each individual job and tweak colour profiles across devices - leading to altered colour reproduction and results that do not meet brand or print standards. Differences in monitor calibrations can also mean that when reviewing artwork digitally, the colour on screen will not necessarily match what is printed.

These issues can also be exacerbated by the fact that a print shop’s colour management software is often dictated by which products their suppliers support and what deals technology providers have struck with printer manufacturers, rather than a system that suits their current workflow setup.

How can I achieve accurate and consistent colour reproduction?

The latest workflow and colour management software is designed to overcome any discrepancies in the perception of colour to provide the print operator with ultimate peace of mind that brand standards are being met.

Multiple advances in colour management technology means print shops can now ensure consistent, accurate and vivid colour reproduction whether jobs are reproduced hours or years apart. PrintFactory’s intelligent device recalibration and dedicated colour profiles ensure printer consistency across a range of different devices and substrates; meaning that colour reproduction remains sharp, vivid and most importantly, identical.

What can I do to ensure the quality of colour across the output meets the print buyer’s standards?

When it comes to keeping customers coming back for more in the wide-format print sector, reliability, reputation and reproducibility are key. With the growing prevalence of spot colours, accurate reproduction and quality assurance is more important than ever in protecting your print shop’s reputation and securing repeat business.

With the correct colour management software in place to ensure clean spot colours, using PrintFactory’s DeviceLink technology to ensure proof grade accuracy and colour profile cloud backups can give operators assurance that the output will be accurate to the buyer’s standards whether printed one hour or one year apart.

Cloud-based technology can offer print operators and customers further peace of mind by making it possible to share job quality control measurement reports against set tolerances with the print-buyer and provide track and trace IDs to show the real-time status of each job, printer and cutter – no matter where in the world the device is located.

How does PrintFactory support wide-format printers in achieving superior colour management?

Since its inception, PrintFactory has been pioneering ways to eliminate complexity from the colour management workflow. The software recently supported leading merchandising company, The Bernard Group, in overcoming colour consistency and accuracy issues.

Before deploying PrintFactory, about 10% of files processed by The Bernard Group required correction. Now, less than 1% of jobs need retouching or correction. As a result of the support and superior colour management tools provided by PrintFactory, The Bernard Group has boosted its job volume by 250% - while only increasing prepress and production staff by 20%.

Wide-format print operations can now enjoy unrivalled brand and reputation protection thanks to a series of colour management and quality assurance enhancements made to the PrintFactory software suite. The new features, which have been introduced in the PrintFactory Version 6 update include additions to the VISU MultiColor Engine, such as a light adjustment tool for visual colour adjustment, cleaner spot colour functionality and a colour correction plug-in that takes RGB to multi-channel creation, as well as a new Resource Manager to enable better management of colour profiles through storage on a central database.

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