Use ICC Color Profiles

Viewing and printing good color is tricky. We have been using a closed loop ICC profile system for over 25 years. Michael gave a lecture at Apple computers in 2000 on color managed workflows for photographers, designers and printers. The room was full because everyone was trying to transition from film based workflows to digital at the time. Sadly, things in color management have changed very little over these 25 years. Here’s what we feel most of our clients need to know to utilize our images:

  • All devices (Monitors, Printers, Papers) have color characteristics that need to be profiled.
  • The Tiff and Jpeg images we deliver have a working color space. Generally AdobeRGB for press printing and sRGB for web and screen display.
  • Your monitor and printer are not a good reference unless they have a good profile. Don’t adjust our images based on un-profiled monitors and printers.
  • A good monitor will show 100% of the AdobeRGB color space. A good monitor is profiled using a colorimeter, which is a small device that is placed on the monitor to measure patches of color. Standards for calibrating a monitor are 2.2 Gama and 6500 Kelvin.
  • Files need to be converted from the working space to the output space. RGB To CMYK for offset printing. The conversion is best done by someone with knowledge of the printer’s profile. The CMYK standards when you do not know the printer profile are SWOP or GRACOL.

Those are the basics of an ICC workflow that everyone handling images should know. The answer to why my print doesn’t look like my monitor and most other issues like color, contrast and luminosity, are solved by using a closed loop color managed system. We have done color management consulting for many clients over the years. It’s a complex subject but we want our images to look their best and to accomplish this, we help our clients with all their color management needs. Please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email if you need CM help.