Color Management- Murky Illusion or Colorful Reality?
The concept of color management is not new. In fact, the majority of color management tools have been around for several years. With this in mind, I asked a few advertising execs, publishers and printers if—and how—they are currently employing color management tools.
Mark Tennant, vice president and director of electronic imaging and new business development, Anderson Lithograph, Commerce, CA, talks about his company's exploration of color management: "Currently, we are using ColorBlind," [color management software developed by ColorBlind, a division of Imaging Technologies Corp. (ITEC), San Diego].
Two challenges with regard to color management are execution and installation. Building color profiles for input (scanners), display (monitors) and a variety of output (printers and proofers) devices requires complex implementation overseen by experts.
Ira Finkelstein, senior vice president, BBDO, New York City, agrees: "Xerox is our consultant, and they are creating the profiles for using using X-Rite equipment. So far, we are very happy with the color that we are seeing on the screen and [on proof]."
Peter Meirs, director of imaging and transmission systems, Time Inc., New York City, has been busy testing two color management workflows. "We are running ColorBlind [for] some titles, for RGB color management of editorial images," Meirs notes. "For another title, we are testing Heidelberg's color management system." Meirs believes that getting specialized assistance in color management implementation is a must. "We have [worked with] Don Hutcheson [president, Hutcheson Consulting, Washington, NJ], a consultant, on the ColorBlind initiative, and we work directly with Heidelberg and Apple Computer … ."
Why color management?
Color management's objective goes beyond improving workflow; its ultimate goal is to remove the need to send ink-on-paper proofs and theoretically, to make remote proofing of advertisements—that have already reached the printing plant—obsolete. Time Inc. has proven that color management works for editorial content, but the company is not planning to implement it for advertising at this time. "We are extremely optimistic about the potential for color-managed workflow, and our goal is to eliminate physical proofs in our editorial process, in favor of calibrated displays," Meirs asserts.