Many small to medium sized print advertising production studios describe color management as, “a luxury”. “A big can of worms.” “An additional expense”. But it’s not just a tool for the big boys….
So, here is why you should take a serious look at color management, and use it as an opportunity to improve your working day.
1. Color management improves artworker confidence
At its simplest, color management is about certainty and predictability in the studio. Finishing artists can work knowing that what they see on the screen is also what others in the studio will see, and that their work will translate properly to print.
While color management does not allow you to see exactly on the screen what the finished print product will look like, a trained finishing artist in a color-managed environment will be able to accurately predict what the results will look like.
2. Color management speeds up studio work
This predictability allows artworkers to confidently optimize colors so they render well in print.
Armed with confidence about the way they see colors, artists and designers can work faster in the studio for better print production efficiency. They can better communicate decisions about colors if they are seeing the same thing on the screens.
More importantly, there’s much less guess-work involved. Dubsat’s Director of Business Development Eric Hegdahl explains.
“Without color management you are extremely inefficient. If you are color correcting an image without color management, you might do two or three moves to get to a hardcopy proof that is satisfactory.”
“With color management you can make a much more qualified move on screen, because the screen is calibrated to match the proofs. So you save time that you are not sending the file multiple times to get a hard copy proof.”
3. Color management cuts down unpaid overheads
This speed factor is especially important because the production studio is positioned at the last stage of the production workflow, so there is little to no leeway on time.
“Without color management, a shop will run into overtime issues, because you are blindly guessing at how to do the color correction,” Eric said.
“Do this multiple times and so there is a cost involved in the overhead, giving people overtime, other jobs get pushed back and rescheduled because you have to get resources to get this job out.
“If you promise 5 hours and 2 rounds of proofs for a job, but actually go through 10 proofs to deliver, that’s work that cannot be charged to the client – it’s cost that will be absorbed by the firm.”
4. Clients demand proper color handling
Clients are increasingly aware of the importance of color. Studies show that color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. In fact, many of us can recognize a brand just from the colors, even before we make out the shape of the logo.
So many clients expect rich colors on their ads that conform to their corporate standard, but what they see on the screen may not translate into print. Color management can help prevent unpleasant surprises.
By showing clients simulations of the printed colors on screen, you can speed up the revision and sign-off process, while managing their expectations of how the ad will turn out in print.
5. Color management ensures consistency between media
Today’s budget-conscious advertising clients and marketers are increasingly repurposing the material used in their print ads for other forms of media, such as digital advertising.
The assets you and your designers create may very well end up on a poster on a bus stop, or as part of an online banner ad. This trend means more and more advertisers are insisting on ads that have a consistent look whether they are on a glossy magazine page, or on the screen of an iPad.
Color management can also help ensure consistency, not just between different print ads, but also between online/mobile ads and print ads.
Color management is not just a “nice to have” luxury for studios anymore. It is an investment that makes business sense, allowing you to differentiate yourself in the market and future proof your studio operations.
As clients increasingly move to re-use advertising assets in a variety of platforms, and as marketers become more aware of the importance of color to their brands and their corporate image, color management is a tool that will ensure your studio remains relevant into the future.
Written by Isaac Leung for Dubsat