What Happened to My Map Colors? Avoiding Printing Mishaps
When it comes to printing and color management, chances are you’ll eventually learn a lesson the hard way. There are simply so many ways to misread color along the design and pre-press process, even seemingly little mistakes can lead to shockingly ‘off-color’ results, particularly for the uninitiated.
Beer Goggles: How Things Go Awry
First, the color you see on the computer screen will never be exactly like the colors printed on the press. The LED shades of red, green and blue on your computer screen can quite simply not be matched with the four colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black utilized on the press to reproduce your digital file via ‘four color process.’ Further complicating matters, the gamut of colors available to printers is far less than the gamut of colors available on the computer monitor: 16.7 million colors on the monitor compared to a paltry 2-4 thousand depending on the press.
Bifocals: Putting Things in Perspective
To get everyone at every stage of mapmaking and production game to see things in the same light requires opening one’s eyes to a few simple color management procedures. What’s key to consistent color control? Getting everyone on board with the same profile settings to ensure they’re working with the same colors.
Don’t Neglect these Map Printing Color Management Rules:
- Control lighting.
Colors are most accurately viewed in a room with no sunlight and walls of neutral tones. For optimal viewing, 5,000 OK color-corrected bulbs are preferred over office and daylight-corrected bulbs, which can distort colors.
- Team-up with your printer.
Discuss your map printer’s monitor settings and color standards (do they do color conversions themselves?). Every printer is unique, which is why Photoshop allows you to build multiple monitor profiles for suppliers.
- Calibrate your monitor.
Use calibration software and equipment (preferably weekly) to bring your CRT or LCD monitor into balance for color, contrast, and brightness. Use this same software for all monitors that will display the job along the way.
- Be aware of problem colors.
Because four-color printing offers only a fraction of colors a computer can display, stay aware of problem colors that may require printer tinkering for matching, as they aren’t easily reproduced in print. These include:
- Rich greens and reds
- Hot purples
- Bright oranges, purples and greens
- Fluorescent yellows, pinks, and turquoises
Don’t let unanticipated color results give you a post-printing headache. Get the finished, professional map printing results you expect with the help of MapPrinter today.