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Increasing Profit by Crunching Colors

(December 2007) posted on Mon Dec 10, 2007

This month, Trimingham describes how to reduce costs and presssetup time by determining the fewest number of colors required to produce a garment graphic.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Another consideration to keep in mind is whether you can charge for correcting the artwork. Your answer will likely depend on the client and the client’s relationship with your business. Many companies will not charge for this type of work because the primary function of the modifications is to benefit the screen printer. However, selling this kind of work might make sense, because the final separation set will provide the customer with a considerably cheaper print. But be careful. You may have a hard time determining whether certain designs can be effectively minimized in color depth until you attempt it.

Promising a certain result without testing it on the specific art in question can really put you behind the eight ball if the image won’t work in the quoted number of colors. The best action to take is to offer the test for a nominal fee or with no art charge and then attempt to reduce the colors without making a hard promise or estimate ahead of time.

This process is particularly important when you’re provided with a lot of scans of four-color-process work or full-color photos from advertising and marketing firms. These types of jobs typically have a lot of color pollution in what looks like solid areas of color. Colored dots are easily seen when you zoom in on jobs that are scanned from a four-color photo, and they’re frustratingly hard to properly separate into usable colors that will look good on a final printed piece. The idea is to quickly edit these types of files so that they can be reproduced in a quality fashion using the least amount of colors.


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