What is your color profile?
Hmmm? It depends on what we are talking about. Let’s take a step back. First, a color profile is a “set” of colors. This set is used for a specific purpose. For example, if it’s personal wardrobe then you might say your profile is warm or cool tones or perhaps that you are a Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn. You would then go to the color wheel and choose the color “set” for your wardrobe based on the parameters of warm, cool or seasons.
If we are talking about printing, and we are, then we would say CMYK is our color profile for “digital” printing. Just like your home printer our digital presses operate on this designated set of colors: C-Cyan, M-Magenta, Y-Yellow & K-Black. These 4 colors are laid down in various percentages in dots and it is truly amazing that this process can create such an astounding array of colors. The human eye does not see the minute dots, it blends the dots, as well as, any white spaces and perceives a single color. Chances are that your Logo or Art is going to print as designed, and your color will be just what you expected, IF, the operator establishes the settings for your individual piece and calibrates accordingly. This takes time and cost more than simply taking the next thing in line and hitting start. If you are getting a lot of color variation then your piece is probably not being handled with the care you expect. However, if you are getting consistent quality and wonder if you could get it done cheaper you are probably going to sacrifice some of your quality for price.
Is there a way to make sure that your color profile is the exact same every single time. Absolutely! It is called pantone matching system (PMS) and it is used in offset printing. Offset printing uses the older presses that have rollers and have to be cleaned in between each run so because of the extra labor it cost more to use this type of press. So whereas you can get digital business cards in the $40-$50 range these same cards ran on an offset printer might be $120-$150. BUT, the colors are matched EXACTLY each and every print.
If you have spent a lot of time and money on designing your print job, if you have painstakingly chosen a color profile that brings that design to life, don’t skimp on the quality of your printing company.
Fun Fact: The human eye can distinguish 7,000,000 colors.