Catalog Doctor: Digital Remedies for Print Profits
We’ve refocused the Chronicles/Adventures in Cataloging column to a “problem/remedy” format and renamed it The Catalog Doctor.
Do your photos look off-kilter? Is your printed catalog not as vibrant as it used to be? Is your image quality erratic? Just as good design and good copy increase sales, good image quality with bright, true colors will improve sales for most catalogs.
Since the switch from film to digital photography, many catalogers have experienced inconsistencies or a decline in image quality. Digital doesn’t mean you have to accept lower image quality. You can capture and print great digital images, but you need to understand how to manage the digital process.
Why Is My Catalog Dull?
Problem: “All the photos looked clean and bright on the photo studio’s monitors, but my catalog printed dull and gray. What went wrong? Can I fix it next time?”
The Doctor’s Remedy: Yes, you can fix it. And even though the digital photo workstream involves very complex technology, you don’t need to become a digital photo tech to improve your catalog’s color. Here are some key facts and tips to get you started:
1. Don’t trust monitor color. A monitor’s color works on entirely different principles than ink-on-paper color. There’s a complex translation process to get from a monitor’s light-based color to paper’s ink-based color.
2. Don’t trust monitor color range. Computer monitors have a huge range of colors available, much bigger than a Web offset press actually can print. So there’s a second translation process from a monitor’s huge color gamut to a press’ smaller one.
3. Focus on the translation process. When a translation is handled properly, every pixel you see on the screen will have been generated by a program to say, “This is pretty close to what the color will look like when printed ink-on-paper.” Consider how and when that can happen, and how you can take control.