The Catalog Doctor Marketing Remedies for Multichannel Pro
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.
Most digital studios have created "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.
The Doctor's Remedy: Your images must end up on SWOP standards to print well. Can your photo studio get you there? Maybe.
Our Proofs Don't Match
Problem: The 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. But it's very difficult to achieve, and not just any old photo-ink-jet printer will do.
Problem: I don't know what's on the market for outputting color-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, which is difficult and time consuming.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.