Magazine publishers, advertisers, direct marketers, and other content developers are desperately trying to get a grip on cross-media color, and are often coming up short. Technological and educational obstacles prevent organizations from achieving consistent results across targeted media formats.
"It's not as easy as simply creating and loading new color profiles, as it is in the purely print world," says Linda Manes Goodwin, executive director of Manes Goodwin Associates, a print production consultancy in Berkeley, Calif. "Color-matching solutions aren't well-integrated or always effective. And getting various constituencies, such as print, Web, broadcast, and CD-ROM producers to agree to more involved workflows and processes compounds the problem. It's often the greatest hurdle."
Some publishers are leaning on outsourcers to help their organization overcome the technical and cultural gaps that hamper cross-media color matching efforts and campaigns.
One such outsourcer is Applied Graphics Technologies, one of the country's largest providers of outsourced digital imaging management and prepress, in New York. To help clients get cross-media unified color matching efforts in gear, AGT officials first provide every person along the client's workflow chain with custom-developed Apple ColorSync profiles.
This enables everyone to view jobs on their preferred output devices. "We instituted color control [using ColorSync] across all of our production processes, and at each and every one of our 22 divisions," says Robert Godwin, VP of business development for AGT. "It was the starting point for our ability to provide cross-media color matching integrated into our digital workflow offering."
Next up, AGT licensed an innovative remote proofing technology from RealTimeImage Inc., San Bruno, Calif., which AGT markets to customers under the "ArtXchange" banner. This solution enables the outsourcer to offer clients secure, Web-based, collaborative, color-matched digital proofing services.
In short, all the usual remote proofing features savvy publishers have come to expect. But where the ArtXchange offering really shines, says AGT's Godwin, is in its leveraging of RealTimeImage's streaming document server.