Color & The State of Printing Industry 2010 was originally published on JimRaffel [dot] com on January 1st of this year. We are working on a private community where more content of this nature will be available exclusively for our customers. Sign up for our RSS feed to stay informed of the progress.
It never ceases to amaze me how integral color knowledge is to the graphic arts industry at large, yet how few people in the industry really understand the topic. The problem is that color, like the game of chess, is very easy to learn and almost impossible to master. I believe this is because true color knowledge requires solid math skills. Color Science, after all, is applied physics.
In 2010 and beyond, the printing companies that thrive (profit leaders) will be leaders in color knowledge and implementation. For example, the GRACoL G7 methodology is the practical application of color science to achieve a more consistent and predictable print result regardless of where the digital files are converted to ink on substrate. Gee, sounds like a Real, Authentic & Sustainable way to reduce waste and increase productivity.
A significant advantage ink on substrate has over other information delivery methods is color vibrancy and consistency. Sure my iPod Touch, my Blackberry, my computer screen, and my TV screen can all deliver amazing and eye catching visual messages, but how consistent is the color fidelity of the same message delivered to multiple devices? (It was a rhetorical question, but the answer is awful).
On the other hand, you can produce a corporate color like “Coke Red” on just about any substrate anywhere in the world if you choose to do so, and I wrote about it here. The printing industry also has the capability to create amazing color messages by utilizing interesting combinations of unique spot colors. The key again is you can control the color and consistency of these colors like no other medium that is delivered to the general public.
The color challenge I issue for 2010 is twofold. First, invest the resources necessary to become a high level practitioner of color science, or provide the means for someone in your organization to do so. Second, keep your eyes open for projects that benefit from the delivery of a high level of color fidelity and color consistency to the general public. Go after these projects with a vengeance selling the benefits that you as a printer can provide over any other message delivery method!