Have you ever printed a photograph from a computer and been disappointed with the detail of the image that the printer produced? Computers and printers sometimes handle colors differently, resulting in a noticeable difference between what you see on your monitor and what your printer produces. Color management exists to neutralize these inherent differences and to produce the closest match possible to a desired color. Each role involved in the digital printing process serves a vital purpose, but perhaps none more important for accuracy than color management. As a printing company, we understand the importance of matching colors for branding purposes and our Color Management Department takes specific measures to counteract the variables that affect color discrepancies.
Color is integral to a brand’s identity. Perhaps there is no better example of this than professional and collegiate athletics. The colors of some collegiate teams are more iconic than their mascot or logos. For some, the color of the team is even more important than the team name. Consider the Michigan Wolverines football program. Despite being named the Wolverines, fans chant “GO BLUE” in recognition of the specific dark shade of blue that the players wear on gameday. A color discrepancy on Michigan football signage would immediately be noticed by any fan of the program, which underscores the importance of matching colors accurately when digitally printing signage.
Matching branded colors isn’t just important for representing one’s own brand, but also when featuring sponsors. A fitting example of this would be an organization featuring Coca Cola as a sponsor. The red and white color scheme of Coca Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. It would be obvious if a sign was printed with the wrong shade of red, and could jeopardize future sponsorship deals.
To better understand how we match color, it’s helpful to understand the process orders go through once we receive them.
Once an order is placed, our creative department receives the graphics from a client and creates a print-ready file, ensuring the proper dimensions for the desired item, including the proper finishing requirements. Once approved by the client, the signage order is processed and put into production, arriving first to our Color Management Department. Our certified color experts review the file for color specifications and convert the file to a format that is readable by our state-of-the-art printers.
Each printer has a specific profile that our Color Management Department has created, ensuring that no matter what material the customer is using, the correct color will be displayed on the specific material. Unique printer profiles are created for each printer because the profile created for our adhesive graphics printer is calibrated specifically to the adhesive material and could produce different color tones on a different material.
For example, a customer whose brand uses Pantone Red 032 C as part of their color scheme may require dimensional signage made from acrylic above an adhesive wall mural in their lobby. To make sure that both the wall mural and dimensional signage match Red 032 C, the printer used for acrylic materials has its own profile that will print on acrylic accurately, while the printer that prints on adhesive materials has a unique profile to ensure the colors are accurately printed on adhesive materials.
This process is crucial because organizations don’t necessarily purchase all of their signage at once. Our Color Management Department records the color specifications and printer settings from every print job so that the colors can be replicated for future orders. This process, coupled with the retention of key information, eliminates the likelihood of color discrepancies when adding new signage.
Once printed, the final product is inspected for color accuracy. After the product is approved, it receives the necessary finishing elements, gets packaged, and sent to the customer.
At AMI Graphics, we pride ourselves on accuracy and devote time and effort to ensure the products we produce for our customers match their desired colors. If you have a project where color matching is crucial, reach out to the industry experts at AMI.