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How We Use Delta E for Color Management – IWCO Direct

How We Use Delta E2000 to Enhance Color Fidelity

Steve Malec

Brand colors are the cornerstone of many companies’ identities. Companies often make a considerable investment in choosing colors to best represent their brand values. When you think of Coca-Cola, for example, what color comes to mind? Their iconic red, right? When it comes to color fidelity, you can be assured Coca-Cola expects an accurate reproduction of their corporate color because Coca-Cola red has been critical to their success.

In recent years, IWCO Direct has become more knowledgeable about color accuracy and consistency. We’ve implemented tools and processes to achieve more accurate color reproduction for our clients and taken responsibility for managing their expectations about color fidelity, including educating them on acceptable color tolerances.

We’ve also taken advantage of advances in litho and especially production inkjet technologies that have allowed printers to be able to maintain tighter tolerances than were possible 10 years ago. In addition, the acceptance of the G7 calibration method, sophisticated color management, and process control applications have given us the ability to hold tight color tolerances like never before. We validate all our different print technologies using pressSIGN, a color management validation software used to maintain our color tolerances.

What is Delta E2000 and How Does It Help Maintain Color Fidelity?

The term Delta E2000 (usually referred to as dE) is used to describe the difference between two colors. The larger the number, the greater the color difference. We use dE2000 (circa 2010), which closely represents how the human eye perceives small color differences. A dE less than 1 is technically indistinguishable to the human eye. A dE of 7 represents two colors that are pretty far apart and very obvious to the eye. Your eye is more sensitive to color differences in grays than in saturated reds or blues—for example, a 2.5 dE color difference between two bright reds might be negligible to the naked eye, while that same difference in a gray would not. Delta E2000 is the way to measure and verify that ISO, G7, and other related color standards are adhered to. It is a critical color metric in process control.

IWCO Direct uses a color tolerance of less than or equal to 3 dE across all print technologies. We maintain this tight standard because our clients care deeply about their brand colors and expect nothing less. We continuously strive to be a leader in the direct marketing space by being on the cutting edge of color technology and color fidelity.

The Time We Learned a Lesson in the Importance of Delta E2000 to Color Management

In 2015, we produced a multi-piece mail campaign for one of our long-standing clients. It printed on various technologies including litho, flexo, and inkjet, and all color matching was a visual match to a standard proof. The only problem was that the color varied from component to component. They rightly encouraged us to find a process control solution that worked across platforms to enhance color fidelity.

When we produced it the second time a year later, we used our pressSIGN process control software and measured Delta E2000 on all components, holding it to a tight tolerance of an agreed upon standard of less than or equal to 2.5 dE—even tighter than our own self-imposed tolerances. When the mail components were laid out together, there was an excellent shared appearance across all components. The client was extremely happy with the result, and our ability to implement a process control color management tool within the organization to meet their expectations as well as ours.

Our clients have quickly taken notice of our investment in color technologies and services. The Delta E2000 measurement tolerance is an invaluable metric which enables us to maintain the high color fidelity standards that our clients expect. We use Delta E2000 every day across all print technologies to keep IWCO Direct the direct marketing leader in color management.

Looking for a partner to help you use color to manage your brand identity? Contact us here—we’re ready to assist.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/08/07/delta-e-color-management-printing/
Steve Malec

Author

Steve Malec

Manager, Color Technical Support. Graduate of the Graphic Arts program at Madison Area Technical College with 25 years of industry experience under his belt (the past 15 at IWCO Direct). Brings Albert Einstein’s “curiosity has its own reason for existing” philosophy to his role, where he enjoys the challenges of working with his team to devise color management and digital print solutions. You can find him traveling, hiking, biking, or cheering on the Packers, Badgers, and Vikings.

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