Colour is a vexed subject

The day two at PrintPack was special. All eyes and ears were set for NPES-ICC colour conference

13 Feb 2015 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Some of the talks at the NPES-ICC colour conference were high theories; others focused on the nitty-gritty of colour measurement, and were site specific. The problem as I see it can be explained with the example of the evolution mobile phones, where complex smartphones hand over the controls to the user, and therefore, the boom in usage.

Unlike smartphones, we are adding more controls and complex devices in the management of colour, rather than eliminating them through automation.

At the end of the day, most smartphone users want to communicate between point A and point B, and at times, from point A to point B to Z. They want to get to a destination.

Colour experts have spent years doing the heavy lifting on colour standards. With new developments, there come new file formats. At today’s conference, there was a buzz about CxF and PDF/X files and updated colour standards. The ISO 12647-2 draws directly on the international ISO 12647-2 for halftone colour separations, proof and production prints. Work is now underway on a separate digital colour standard, ISO 15311-2. There’s also Fogra’s Process Standard Offset (PSO) template and certification processes such as the Ugra process.

The brand owners need simple systems which enable ‘what you see is what you get’ models of workflow.

While preparing pages for the PrintPack Daily, the PrintWeek India team had to re-do page because the InDesign versions on different systems were not compatible. At a time, when Adobe is holding most of the cards, it begs the question; whether the fault is of the users or is this mess the fault of the creators of these systems?

Do we need to re-look at the system?

In the first place, are the methods, to manage the reproduction of colour poor? And these methods do not seem to understand how to solve problems in a sensible way?

PrintWeek India view: Is it possible to automate the application of colour management. Like smartphones and cars, make the devices destination focued rather than controls focused?