Color experts like me will recall that in the early years of production inkjet, digital presses simply could not match the appearance of offset presses. As early adopters of the technology rushed to capture its workflow advantages, tradeoffs were made on the quality of the overall color gamut. Thankfully, those days are behind us, and color reproduction on digital presses can often achieve offset standards. Advancements in paper stocks, ink set formulations, dryer enhancements, output speed, and more have contributed to our ability to achieve high quality digital color reproduction.
That’s not to say accurate and consistent color reproduction is easy or doesn’t require a consistent focus.
IWCO Direct’s Standards for Color Reproduction
At IWCO Direct, our clients rightly have high standards for accurate reproduction of their brand color(s) and consistent color conformity, and we have a strong commitment to standardize and maintain optimal color reproduction. We have designed print processes, print standards, and color management practices to ensure our clients’ satisfaction. We’ve added staff specifically to maintain optimal color reproduction across not only digital printing, but all of our print platforms.
Our Color Technical Support team uses various color management tools, but our biggest success has been the rollout and implementation of pressSIGN, an enterprise-wide color control software used for measuring, validating, and tracking color reproduction and fidelity across all print platforms. It has allowed us to share standards across our various print technologies and obtain the truly “shared appearance” that is the hallmark of optimal color reproduction.
We also track our digital presses daily for accuracy. In addition, all digital and litho jobs have brand and spot colors verified against original targeted standards. From the recorded measurements in pressSIGN, we have the ability to quickly generate a PDF report for both internal and external clients. This gives our clients confidence that their color will be consistent, regardless of printing technology.
Questions to Ask Marketing Partners about Color Reproduction
Many marketing professionals are experts in their field, but not necessarily experts in printing. If you’re considering working with a new partner and would like to assess their commitment to color reproduction, we suggest you ask these questions:
- How do you track your color reproduction?
- What process control(s) do you have in place?
- Can you provide a report on how the job ran?
- How do you assure a shared appearance across all print technologies?
- Do you use a print standard? If so, what standard is used?
There are also things you can do to help your production partner meet your color requirements. Having your brand standards defined by LAB values (not CMYK or RGB), knowing your color tolerance (based on dE2000), and understanding how your paper stock choices may affect color reproduction are extremely helpful. Also allowing access to your designers or agencies, so any questions about how a file is built can quickly be answered, will ensure a more efficient process.
At IWCO Direct, optimal color reproduction is just one of the many aspects of our leadership in direct mail production. Our clients can have the utmost confidence knowing that IWCO Direct is tracking optimal color reproduction on every project.
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