Set Your Files Up For Success

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Print facilities say their biggest challenges to printing great color come in customer files. No matter how well a printer manages color in-house, the settings used on inbound files will always affect the quality and color of the final output.

So how should print files be set up?

Most importantly: If you have a specific print shop you plan on working with, always follow their artwork guidelines for the best color results. Following a printer’s specs will reduce the pre-press time required to prep your file for printing, saving you time and money. A printer will tell you what they need to get the best results for their process.

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Color Management 101: Color Spaces

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Color Basics

Color is dynamic. We all see it a little differently, because color is the physical response of the eye to light + the mental interpretation of those responses. This makes printing color accurately a bit tricky until one has a basic understanding of color space.

First, all color starts with light. The color of a physical object is the result of projected light reflecting off the object. Your eyes + brain interpret what gets reflected, and the result is the color you see. A red apple, for example, reflects red wavelengths of light and absorbs all others. You see the reflected red wavelengths. As ambient light decreases, colors appear to fade because there is less light and, therefore, less color.

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Color Management 101: Printer Consistency

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Color Management 101 - Printer Consistency

Let’s be honest, no printing device is truly consistent. Print variance is inevitable. While minor variation over the course of weeks is normal, what you should be concerned with is either a sudden change outside the normal variation or a slow degradation over time. Some variation is mechanical in nature, like a print head getting clogged, and some variation comes from external variables such as temperature and humidity.

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