Color Matching (Monitors versus Prints)

29/09/2008

There are good reasons why some colors don’t look the same on your printouts as they do on your monitor.

Colors on your monitor are displayed via an additive color method: starting with black, colored lights of varying intensity (usually Red, Green, and Blue) are added to achieve every color possible for that monitor. Full intensity of all the lights results in a pure white display, but different monitors have slightly different gamuts …which are further variable depending on the monitor’s hardware and software settings.

On paper printouts, color is usually achieved by using a subtractive color method: starting with white, colored inks (often Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) are added in different amounts to achieve every possible color inside that printer’s gamut …up to a fully saturated rich black.

Some calibration procedures (including documents with accurate ICC profiles attached) will improve consistency between your monitor and printer — but the inherent differences in technology mean that some colors (for example, lime green on your monitor), may never be perfectly reproduced on your printer, and for other colors the reverse is true.

We recommend converting all web-to-print templates to CMYK or spot colors. It will ensure that users see color loss of RGB -> CMYK conversion in previews.

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