Colour Management, Who Needs It?

Are Your Roses Red?

Are Your Violets Blue

Are Your Monitor and Printer Lying to You? 

Fact is, everybody who does desktop printing needs it.  How do you know this relates specifically to you?  

Well, take the color management test: Making too many (more than one) test prints?  Spending too much money on paper and ink? Spending too much time at the printer and not enough time with your partner, mate or TV? Is your frustration level red-lining?

If you said yes to any (and probably all) of the above, you need a color management system.

And, a big invisible bonus with a color management is the fact that your creativity will be empowered.  You will go out and create better images because you know they can be reproduced in print. How’s that? It sure worked for me.

Basically, color management is simply ‘color by number.’  When you profile (or color manage) your monitor, every color that appears is, poetically speaking, given a number.  When you profile your printer and specific paper, the printer is made to understand the color numbers coming off your monitor and is obliged to reproduce them.

Without color by number, your monitor is like all those televisions on the wall of a big box store, all playing the same channel.  Think back…do any of those sets match in color, brightness and contrast?  It’s the same with your monitor . . . and printer.  

Case in point. I produced a sound/slide show in Mac iMovie for a client.  (Because it was for commercial use and to play in public, I used a no charge, legal, royalty-free piece of music from Mac’s Garage Band, or if I wanted, I could have composed my own music in Mac’s GB).  Then, the client asked for (what you might think impossible) quality 11 x 17 inch prints to display with the slide show . . . 25 prints, and they wanted them like yesterday.  Think a moment; if you had to make 25 quality inkjet prints quick, how long would it take you?  How much paper would you spend to get those prints?  Getting nervous?

Fact: I made those 25 prints in just about two hours.  Fact: I used 25 sheets of Epson Premium Luster on my R2400 printer.  Perfect prints.  And, should the client require a duplicate set, two or ten years from now, I can match the first round of prints with no trouble.  

My color management system is the Spyder System by Datacolor.  It’s not rocket science to set up and use.  It comes with a colorimeter (like an electronic stethoscope for your screen) which profiles your monitor in 8 minutes or so.  It also comes with “Print,” a program which numerically interlinks your monitor color to your printer, so your prints match your monitor.

I wish I had discovered color management earlier in life. I would have saved me tons of cash and less hassle with my wife.

Now, if you think this is a commercial for color management, you’re wrong.  It’s a commercial for better images and prints.  If you’re ready to go to the next level, through the keyhole of greater creativity, hop on the color management express.


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