Color. The psychology of color in marketing and branding is a much-discussed topic. Since color plays such an important role in advertising products and services, it is extremely important that color management is spot on.
Color management is an important consideration with any printing or media project. The colors displayed can be crucial for the best possible project or campaign outcomes. If there is a lack of consistency or your colors do not appear the same shade in all of the printed materials as they do on your computer screen then this can be a big problem at times.
What is Color Management?
The term color management refers to the process used so that color reproduction is exact, and specific color matching is possible. Each device that is involved in the imaging chain has known characteristics when it comes to color so that the reproduction matches the original design perfectly and each color is accurate and true.
Color management is especially useful for adjusting color for devices with a relatively limited gamut, such as a four-color process printing press.
This process typically happens behind the scenes and is usually not an issue, but at times color problems can come up because different devices have different color characteristics that do not match perfectly. When this happens, it is important to understand the process so that color problems can be corrected before the printing process or image use starts.
Why are Profiles and Reference Colors Necessary?
Effective color management involves the use of color profiles and reference colors because different devices may use the same color number for different shades. Consider foods that are spicy. One person may like things extremely hot while another may prefer medium. Different cooks will have different spice levels for each category, and this may affect the quality and heat of the finished dish.
The process used to manage colors is similar. Each device has color characteristics and profiles, and these are managed by standardizing the data so that devices can collectively utilize the information to identify any color issues and correct the problems so that the end color matches the original shade. This allows for consistent colors across all image and printing devices.
Color Matching is Essential for Many Printing Projects
How important is color matching? A lot of time, thought, and effort goes into color selection during the design process in order to get the desired results. The use of color can impact the thoughts and emotions of individuals. For many printing projects getting the exact shade of color that was chosen is imperative, and even a small variation can make a big difference.
Since the 4 color printing process always uses the same standard 4 colors you will usually get high quality images that are more realistic, and more appealing to the human eye.
From our article about 4 color printing.
Determine how Critical Color Matching is for your Materials
Think about color management when it comes to your current project or campaign. Will different shades affect the results that you get? Do any graphics and images require exact color matching? The last thing you want is materials that are unappealing or that look flawed in any way. Consumers may view your business and products negatively as a result.
CMS: Manage Color between Devices and Software Programs
Color Management Systems can help manage color between different devices and software programs so that consistent results and exact matches are achieved. Instead of several devices that all have a different shade for the color blue the system allows all of the devices to sync colors, and can replicate the specific shade of blue desired across all of the different programs and devices.
Because each device reproduces color differently, the color you see at one stage of design and production rarely matches what you see at another.
Source: University of South Carolina
Why do Colors Vary?
Color management prevents color variations. Colors can vary because the many different devices and programs cannot reproduce all of the color range that the human eye can see. The color space used by each device is designed to produce within the given color space parameters. This can be different for various devices and programs.
Some devices may use the RGB color model, others use the CMYK model, and there are also other color models that may be used as well. Color conversion is needed when all of the devices do not use the same model. The colors may need to be converted to a different model before they can be used.
Discuss your Color Matching Requirements with your Printer
If you are concerned about color management or your images and graphics must be spot on then discuss this with the printer that you have chosen. The printer can help you determine whether exact color matching is needed, and then help you get the results that you want. The printer can explain any necessary color conversions and advise you on the best design file and color formats.
How do you handle color management with your printing projects?