As a special edition to PrintMedia, readers asked the questions that our editors answered. The following inquiries target today's market.
Dear PrintMedia InBox,
Since the magazine I work for went fully digital last year and changed printers, I am having a hard time matching colors in-house with the print. As quality control manager, I am responsible for making the match, but the differences are pretty significant. Is there a good resource or tool to make this system work better? I tried consulting a few vendors, but I'm not sure which is best or whether we have the funds at this time to make a serious investment. Help? -Quality Out of Control
Dear Quality Out of Control,
Always remember: Calibration! Calibration! Calibration! Your question is a common one when it comes to newly digitized workflows: that is, how to make the digital file match the printed page. In a past issue of PrintMedia, we tackled this question in a case study with S & S Worldwide catalogs where creative director, Mike Fosso, similarly advocated for calibration in "Past Imperfect" (September 2000). For your immediate needs, Pantone offers some sound (and free) advice about color theory and tools on its site: www.pantone.com. The company also offers PANTONE Personal Calibrator software to help set up manufacturer standards between you and your printer. According to PANTONE, "In many cases, the number of colors in an image will exceed the capabilities of the device used to display the image." That's why calibrating your desktop or imagesetter to match your printer's digital press is the key in solving your dilemma. Otherwise, you may also want to check out www.swop.org. The organization, Specification Web Offset Publications, is dedicated to getting everyone on the same page when it comes to file formats, which can also contribute to many color mismatches, according to SWOP.