Have you ever ordered print materials and when they turn up, the colours look nothing like they did on the screen? This is not an unusual scenario.  

When you run a business a strong brand identity is crucial – and one of the key elements of that identity is your colour palette. When you invest in printed marketing materials, the consistency of your brand colours across all different media is essential.  

This is where colour management plays a vital role, and for businesses who outsource their printing to professional digital printing companies, it is important to have an understanding of colour management to ensure that your marketing materials represent your brand accurately.  

Understanding Colour Management 

Colour management is an important process in digital printing. It ensures the colours of the printed material match the colours seen on a digital screen as closely as possible. This isn’t always an easy process as it requires a series of steps to control the way colours are handled from the creation of the design on your computer to the final printed product.  

The primary goal of colour management is to always achieve colour consistency and accuracy, regardless of the printing method or material used.  

Key Components of Colour Management 

There are several key components of colour management that you should understand whether you are designing the required marketing materials or having them represent your brand.  

Colour Profiles and ICC Profiles: Colour profiles are digital files that describe how colours should appear on different devices. International Color Consortium (ICC) profiles are standard colour profiles used to maintain colour consistency across various devices and platforms. These profiles help to accurately translate colours from a digital design to a printed format. 

Calibration: This is the process of adjusting the output of a device to match a set standard. In digital printing, this involves calibrating monitors, printers, and other devices to ensure that the colours produced are accurate and consistent each and every time. 

Colour Gamut: When talking about printing systems, colour gamut refers to the range of colours that can be produced by a device. Different printers and screens have different gamuts, meaning some colours might not be able to be reproduced on certain devices. Colour management systems help in mapping the colours from the design’s gamut to the printer’s gamut, ensuring the best possible match. 

Soft Proofing: Soft proofing is the process of previewing how the colours in a digital file will look when printed. This is done using colour profiles and calibrated monitors to simulate the printed output, allowing for adjustments before actual printing.

The Importance of Colour Management for Businesses 

There are a few key reasons as to why correct colour management is important for business and it starts with brand consistency. Colours play a significant role in brand identity and any major deviation from that can dilute the brand’s message and recognition.  

Correct colour management ensures that your brand colours are reproduced accurately across all printed materials, whether it be business cards or large format banners.  

Cost Efficiency 

If you’ve had printing done previously, you’ll know that incorrect colours means reprints, which can be both time-consuming and costly. These issues can be avoided by ensuring colours are correctly managed from the beginning.  

Using a professional printing company has its benefits – with quality colour management systems, they can provide proofs and samples of your printing, which reduces any risk of errors, and ensures the final product meets expectations before a full print run is started.  

Professional Quality 

Good colour management is essential for achieving professional-quality prints. There’s no surprise that high-quality, colour-accurate prints enhance a company’s image and make a positive impression while inconsistent colours can make printed materials look unprofessional which then impacts on how people perceive your business.  

Competitive Advantage 

Whether you are in a saturated market or only have a small number of competitors, if you are in an industry where visual appeal is critical, high-quality printed materials can provide a competitive advantage. How? Marketing that is consistently vibrant and accurate can set a business apart from its competitors and attract more attention.  

Implementing Colour Management 

Now you know how important colour management is when it comes to digital printing, how do you go about implementing it? 

Working with Professional Printing Companies 

When outsourcing printing, it’s essential to choose a professional printing company that prioritises colour management. Here are some factors to consider: 

Experience and Expertise: Look for printing companies with a proven track record in colour management. Experienced professionals understand the requirements of different printing technologies and substrates. 

Technology and Equipment: Ensure the printing company uses modern, calibrated equipment and up-to-date colour management systems. Ask about their process for handling colour profiles and calibration.

Proofing Process: A reliable printing company will offer proofing options, including soft proofs and printed samples, to verify colours before the final print run. This step is crucial for catching any colour discrepancies early. 

Communication: Effective communication with the printing company is essential. Provide them with accurate colour profiles and specifications and be clear about your expectations. Discuss any potential colour issues upfront to find solutions. 

Steps You Can Take 

Even when working with a professional printing company, businesses can take additional steps to ensure colour accuracy including: 

Standardising Design Processes: Use standardised colour profiles and ensure that all design files are prepared with these profiles. Consistency in the design process reduces the risk of colour discrepancies. 

Calibrate Design Monitors: Regularly calibrate monitors used for designing to ensure that the colours displayed on screen are accurate. This helps in creating designs that translate well to print. 

Use Pantone Colours: When possible, use Pantone colours in designs. Pantone provides a standardised colour matching system, which helps in achieving consistent colours across different media. 

Request Samples: Before going ahead with a large print run, request samples from the printing company. This allows you to verify colour accuracy and make any necessary adjustments. 

Stay Updated: Stay informed about advancements in colour management and printing technologies. As technology evolves, new solutions and improvements in colour management can provide better results.

Colour management in digital printing is essential for businesses that rely on professional printing services. It ensures that the colours in printed materials accurately reflect the brand’s identity, maintaining consistency and quality.  

By working closely with experienced printing companies and implementing best practices in colour management, businesses can achieve vibrant, accurate, and professional printed materials.  

Digital Printing in Perth 

Are you looking for a quality digital printing company in Perth? The team at A Team Printing would love to help you with your print materials. Our entire team understands colour management, and we work to ensure that your print materials look exactly like you’ve designed them to.