The color matching process is pivotal in ensuring that the final printed product accurately mirrors the intended design. The procedure can seem intricate, but understanding its nuances can be beneficial for both designers and brands.
1. Physical Color Targets:
- Sources of Physical Targets: If you have a previously manufactured bag or an Epson proof, these can be immensely beneficial for precision in color replication.
- Using the Photometer: In the prepress stage, we employ a special photometer to gauge the exact ratings of the physical target. The Lab values derived from this measurement are then incorporated into the design file.
- Color Management Software: This software assists in calibrating the colors to ensure alignment with the physical target.
- On-press Verification: When printing, the physical target accompanies the job ticket. The press team frequently cross-checks the print against the target to ascertain consistency.
- On-press Adjustments: If discrepancies arise, color adjustments are made on the press using specific color refinements. Having a physical target sets clear expectations and aids in achieving desired results.
2. Using the PMS Book:
- Retaining Spot Colors: If you intend to use specific Pantone colors, such as PMS 185, maintain it as a ‘spot’ in the design file.
- CMYK Conversion: Through color management software, the designated Pantone color is translated to a CMYK equivalent. Factors like ink sets, substrate, and laminates play a role in this conversion.
- Spectrometer & Pantone Book: Using a spectrometer, the printed color is juxtaposed against the Pantone book to ensure congruence.
- Color Refinement: If the colors aren’t matching perfectly, color refinement can be applied. Instead of manual tweaks on the press, adjustments like enhancing cyan or reducing magenta are made in the software, providing a broad chart to facilitate multiple changes simultaneously. This systematic approach not only ensures accuracy but also efficiency.
3. Communication and Proofs:
Open communication is key. Our primary objective is to set clear color expectations. We typically discuss these aspects with clients before starting the print job, ensuring a mutual understanding of the final product’s appearance. Additionally, we can provide press proofs, which further detail the various color adjustments and refinements made.
Color matching is an intricate dance of technology, expertise, and communication. While the process may seem complex, its objective is simple: to ensure that the final product mirrors the envisioned design, guaranteeing brand consistency and consumer trust.