Color is tricky and complex. Here’s the long story — cut short.
Common color matching questions:
1. Why is my color printout not matching my computer screen colors?
2. My print job does not match my screen or color printouts. How come?
First, keep in mind:
• Computer screens are typically red, green, blue (RGB)
• Office printers are typically cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK)
On top of that, each device has different and variables:
• Screen variables: age, brand, settings, capabilities
• Office printer variables: age, settings, capabilities, ink levels
In addition, professional printing has distinct differences and variables:
• There are several different print methods: 4-color process (CMYK), digital (fancy color laser), spot color (Pantone, aka PMS), 5 color job (a mix of 4-color process and spot color)
• Professional print variables: presspersons experience, and attention to detail (maintaining ink levels, tight ink registration)
Finally, color hinges on paper type:
• Variables that affect ink color are the paper: brand, thickness, texture, color (including white paper — there are zillion shades of white paper), coating, lighting conditions, quality, ink absorbency
Bottom line, printing is still an art and not a science:
• If your brand requires near-exact color matching, ask your graphic designer to provide color swatches before your job is printed
• Your designer may also recommend ordering a match-print proof from the printer
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