Sunday, November 12, 2006

Color Wars

Color matching is the bane of designers everywhere.

When matching process colors is critical, the EFI Designer edition software, coupled with an Epson Stylus 2200, paper from Red River Papers or the Epson Matte inkjet paper, yields dead-on results. So accurate, that at our last press check, the printer put our proofs in front of us to compare to the press sheets. When I pointed out that these were our proofs, not their proofs, they were quite surprised, a little embarrassed, but interested in how we accomplished it.

But when it comes to matching Pantone colors, especially when showing proofs for brand development projects, it's another story. I have yet to find a system, including our Xerox 6350, that matches Pantone colors accurately

The Adobe software doesn't make it easy, especially Illustrator. By the time one figures out where all of the color management settings are, and how they must match, precious billable time has slipped away. Granted, Adobe Bridge allows for all Creative Suite apps to be synchronized, but Illustrator isn't "smart," in that copying a color match into a new file won't produce accurate results.

Upon reflection, I think the solution would be to specify CMYK (spot to process) colors, and work from there. And in one's spare time, print a sample of all of the Pantone colors, and match to your target color.

And leave plenty of room so that the color matching process doesn't affect the budget!

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1 comment:

fivemcclungs said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one. Color is such a pain. CMYK is bearable(although I'm eager to try your solution for the 2200 which never produces proof quality results for me). Pantone and Illustrator is truly the issue. I've gotten to where I just send a client digital files and the pantone numbers. If they have questions, then out comes the chips. Since Pantone solids are primixed ink, not CMYK, I don't think we'll ever have an accurate way of reproducing them in house other than chips.