Save Money with Color Management

When printing, you’ve certainly asked yourself more than once why colors sometimes don’t match. This happens because no device in a publishing system is capable of reproducing the full range of colors viewable to the human eye. Each device operates within a specific color space that can produce a certain range, or gamut of colors. That’s why a color management system is needed,
to reconcile color differences among devices so that you can confidently predict the colors your system ultimately produces. Viewing color accurately allows you to make sound color decisions throughout your workflow, from digital capture through final output. Color management also allows you to create output based on ISO, SWOP, and Japan Color print production standards.
But we are, at some range, bored with doing color management and ranging colors from say pale yellow to pale purple. But boring as it may be color management is about money management. It’s also about environmental management, so this is why we simply have to keep banging on about it.
Take inks for example, plain offset inks, the inks that so many digital press ink and toner providers want to emulate. Some would say that color management starts with the ink. Certainly managing its behavior and the results on press is what color management is all about.
If you don’t fancy pre-press color management, unlocking your inner color management superhero could begin with the ink on press. If so, there are at some basic process management stages to consider.
This may all seem deadly dull for digital press users. But since offset presses still produce most of the world’s commercial and newspaper print, these stages merit an airing. Begin with presetting control, taking into account the ink and paper combination and the likely press speed.
Not only will these controls improve ink performance, they can also cut waste by as much as 50% depending on the press and substrate.
Step two is to measure the spectral values of the printed ink, ideally as the press is running. Don’t be tempted to use a simple camera capturing red, green and blue data to calculate XYZ or LAB values.

Far better to use a spectrophotometer, so that you can capture data in the whole visible spectrum. In combination with density values, this data will help you to improve your press control.
Next look at how you can cut costs with improved color management on press. You are likely to improve product quality which reduces waste and uncomfortable conversations with agitated customers.
There are likely to be longer periods between press cleaning and your overall process will be more stable. You will use less ink on press, especially if you follow these steps in conjunction with pre-press color management. And there ought to be some benefit because you are working with a process that operators understand.
These controls give you a foundation for optimizing processes, based on evaluating how each of them contributes to ongoing improvements. You want to be able to fully exploit what works well and improve what’s necessary but error prone.
Data collected during each print run is vital to improving output quality and costings for the next run. Evaluating data from every press run will help you to cut costs and reduce waste over time. And this has to be a good thing all round.


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