Learning how to use color correctly and accurately is paramount in the print and design industry. What you see on screen does not always represent what will be produced on a print press. A lot of time and resources can be waisted when color is not done properly. Below is a quick guideline for preparing color correctly and accurately for print:
The first step is to calibrate your monitor to ensure the closest representation to the printed color. While calibration tools can be expensive, there are many online techniques to achieving an accurate monitor calibration, a good starting point would be Adobe Gamma which comes with Adobe Photoshop, if you do not have access to Adobe Photoshop, try using an online monitor calibrator.
Once you have successfully calibrated your monitor, the next step would be to determine a color scheme that will work for your project. There are several publications that can assist in determining the right color for your needs. The most popular of which are part of the Pantone Color Resources series titled COLOR: messages and meanings. There are also online color generators that will aid in the choosing of a color scheme, (this is not a swatch color picker, it is simply a basic tool for getting started in determining a color scheme).
Finally, you would need to determine how many colors will be used. If you are working with line art/vector graphics (consists of solid shapes and colors), typically choosing a Pantone color swatch saves money and ensures color accuracy, you can purchase a swatch book from Pantone or request samples from your printer, keep in mind the number of colors used will determine the number of plates used on the press so for cost reduction you would want to keep your colors limited. If you are working with projects that include photographs or images with continuous tones, the most cost effective setup would be CMYK. CMYK is a color process/model involving 4 plates; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Since your monitor produces RGB values most programs will default to this color model, so when preparing artwork for print, you should always create or convert your artwork accordingly.
This is a very quick and basic guide for preparing color correctly. It’s always best to consult with your Project Center representative first before submitting any artwork.
ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com.