Tolerance Levels for Standards in Premedia Colour Workflows


Development of colour management systems, level of agreement and standardisation in the graphic arts industry, as well as the embedding of the facilities for colour management into computer operating systems and software, enables successful future interoperability of colour reproduction. Yet colour reproduction from one medium, to another still give rise to inconsistencies. This paper investigates the utilisation of standards in colour management systems of premedia and press manufacturers and the achievement of colour fidelity from original to print. Questions of interest are: how carefully has a standard adjustment, e.g. ambient light, display temperature and measurement tools, to be complied, especially when visual perception is used for control of colour fidelity, and, how significant is the lack of colour control in certain places in the reproduction flow for the final printed colour? There is a special interest in the usage of colour control methods, such as hard and soft copy proofing. Swedish premedia and press colour workflows were investigated to get the necessary information. The companies all use cold-set web offset printing to reproduce their final product, but lay different emphasis on premedia or press, or handles both workflows. The result shows that the compliance with standard adjustments varies, and principally all workflows neglect some adjustment, caused of shortage in routines or knowledge. This does not affect the final result too much, since complaints from customers are few, yet the automation throughout the workflow. The investigation also shows that soft proofing in prepress and in press workflow would increase colour stability and would reduce the consumption of time and money.

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