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Colour Management

Ever gotten something printed, only to find out that the colours on the page do not match the colours on your screen? Colour management, one of the most crucial aspects of the entire printing process, is also one of the hardest to master.

Though it may not seem so, printing itself is perhaps the most straightforward part of the entire book production process. A book in production will spend the shortest amount of its lifespan within the printing department.

We fit within this limited timeframe an immense focus on colour. Although the latest auto measuring devices can scan and achieve colour targets with relative ease, it requires very specific proficiency to create the necessary printing conditions to translate colours onto a page.

After careful calibration and optimization, each printing technique is profiled for widely used substrate types. Routine re-calibration makes sure that the ICC profiles maintain their validity.

But it doesn’t end there. Since many different types of substrates are used throughout a day, each substrate must be individually profiled for precise colour appearance.

So how do we do it? We have long been using the colour space governed by FOGRA39 to manage CMYK data exchange. Typically, we convert a job to the actual colour space of its substrate. The FOGRA39 and FOGRA47, here, function as coated and uncoated datasets that serve as rough guides to actual papers.

Colour spaces are also changing, and we are adapting our processes to fit them as they do. For example, although between 2013-2015, FOGRA51 and FOGRA52 were due to replace this dataset, they were never widely adopted.

Current work in progress focuses on revising the relevant ISO Standard, the ISO 12647-2. This revision process is expected to take a couple more years, until which the FOGRA39 will remain the main CMYK data exchange colour space.

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