Catalog Doctor: Digital Remedies for Print Profits
Our Monitor and Printer Are Calibrated, Right?
The Doctor’s Warning: Don’t rely on your photographer’s assurance of a color-calibrated image chain.
Digital studios create “color profiles” for every component in their studio equipment chain. What you see on the studio set, what you see on the calibrated studio monitor and what you see emerging from the studio’s ink-jet color printer will all seem to match.
But even if it all looks great in the studio, studio color-calibrated images often won’t look good on a printing press. Web offset printing presses have a set of calibration standards called standard Web offset process (SWOP). The missing element in most photo studios is that they haven’t properly included a SWOP standard in their calibration chain.
Our Proofs Don’t Match
Problem: “The printed catalog doesn’t match the proofs I approved. Why?”
The Doctor’s Remedy: Before printing your catalog, proof to an output device (e.g., your printer) that is calibrated to your press (SWOP standards) to see what your color actually will look like on press. Does that mean you must proof to a traditional high-end (and costly) laminating proofer? Not necessarily. Some drop-on-demand (ink-jet) proofers have become capable of matching the results of laminating proofers.
Problem: “How can I see accurate SWOP proofs? What are my options?”
The Doctor’s Remedy:
Option #1: If your photo studio has the right kind of printer, and if it can calibrate to SWOP, it can provide you with loose (or “scatter”) proofs. Work on calibrating with your print vendor.
Option #2: If your design studio or agency has the right kind of printer, and if it can calibrate to SWOP, it can provide you with both loose proofs and composed page proofs. (It should also work with your print vendor on calibrating.)