Print Colour Management - A USP or Standard Service?

    Print Colour Management - A USP or Standard Service?
    Viktor Hertz
    3rd November 2011

    A few years ago clients didn't care about the colour of their wide-format print jobs, colour management did not exist. All they wanted was something big and bold. Colour was a secondary consideration if indeed it came into the equation at all. It was something that the printer dealt with entirely on their own and the client was forced to accept the results because they didn't have the tools to manage the process themselves nor in many instances did they have the print knowledge to realise when the wool was being pulled over their eyes.

    This resulted in printers being able to get away with murder. When a client asked why their corporate logo green printed on promotional leaflets that had been produced on a digital press was a completely different hue to the 'green' corporate logo on the billboard poster campaign printed on a screen press, the printer would say that due to the different substrate used and the different presses employed for each job, the final outcome would inevitably be different. The fact that the jobs had been produced by different printers further muddied the waters. There was nothing that they could do about it.

    However, over the course of the last couple of years clients have begun to increasingly care about the colour that their printer is outputting and due to the recessionary climate, printers have had to respond to these demands as part of their improved service offer. The drive towards greater colour management has coincided with clients increasingly placing all of their print requirements with one or as few a number of printers as possible to ensure that there is consistency across all forms of print, whether it be digital printing, flexo or offset.

    Without the right tools this task would be insurmountable but thanks to the plethora of new wide format colour management software introduced over the last couple of years costing from as little as a couple of thousands pounds to install (for a basic system), printers now have the ability to offer clients full control over the colour of their job regardless of the press or substrate printed on, the size of the printed area in question (from leaflets through to billboard ads) and regardless of who printed the job. For a modern printing company colour management is no longer a USP or key differentiator – it's got to be part of the standard service offer.

    Colour management is a topic on the agenda at the FESPA Global Summit in Barcelona 17,18 November. It is also certain to be a discussion point at the highly anticipated FESPA Digital 2012.