User login

Managing Color for Consistent Customer Approval

(July 2008) posted on Mon Jun 30, 2008

Your command of color viewing and matching is critical to client satisfaction. Discover how to identify and remove the variables associated with these processes.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Mark A. Coudray

We’ve all had the client from hell who can’t seem to approve anything we send them without a fight or an outright rejection. One client of mine, who was unbelievably critical, immediately comes mind. We could never get our color matches right. Our solution was to do our best to color-match an ink color and then cut it into three different parts. Being careful to disguise the color’s source, we’d send the color-sample chips with a note saying one was more red, one more yellow, and the middle one was our best choice.

Invariably, the client would pick one of the two that we didn’t select and would send some sarcastic note informing us of our incompetence with color. It was always good for a chuckle. However, like most issues in our industry, the closer you look at a situation, the less likely you are to find the obvious. That’s exactly what happened with these color approvals. This scenario demonstrates that the ability to maintain reliability and continuity when viewing and evaluating images is critical, whether you’re in the pressroom or at the client’s location.

While this month’s column is not limited to the prepress portion of the production process, it directly relates to the immense complexities of getting a client to approve images and color. What follows is an overview of the key areas you need to study and understand when it comes to getting client approvals.


Viewing images and color

We determine how we’ll view images and color for approval at the very front of the process. We can view under two conditions: emissive and reflective. Emissive refers to our computer monitors and is how we see all of our images before they’re converted to reflective versions on press. Each has its own set of control points and characteristics. Our goal is to minimize the differences between the two to the point where there are no appreciable variations. This is the holy grail of proofing, and most color experts would agree that we’ve finally achieved the objective.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.