Here at City Signs, we’ve been putting together professional advertising materials together for a long time, whether those are banner stands, campaign materials, decorative signage for a business, or a vehicle decal for your car window. And 02

Well, that’s going to take a little bit of explaining…

Screen Display Calibration

First of all, it’s important to know that the color showing up on your screen will depend on a lot of things. It will depend on the device you’re using, the brightness you select, and very importantly, the color calibration on your screen. Even something as simple as the lighting in the room can affect what color you see on your screen. Different monitors will have different display settings. For example, in older computers the color array was more limited, and you could select a more limited array in order to optimize the speed of your computer. Modern screens are getting better and better at having varied (and therefore, more likely to be uniform) coloration. However, it’s always important to double-check the display calibration on your screen to see if you’re getting the most accurate picture.

RGB vs CMYK and Understanding Color Space

We don’t want to get too technical with printing lingo, but it’s important to understand that there are different ways to mix and display colors. Each program, device, and printer, can have a different “color space,” meaning that it will have a different range of colors available. Some color spaces are more limited than others. As a general rule, most screen displays will use some form of RGB (Red-Green-Blue) color space, since these three colors in the light spectrum can be used as primary colors. However, when it comes to printing, primary colors work differently. Almost all printers use some form of the CMYK color space (which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Teal, and Key–or black.)

Because color created using light is different from color using prints and pigments, it’s almost impossible to get a precise match between a display color and print colors. It’s also very common for print colors to simply come out darker than the colors look on screen.

However, using careful conversions from one color space to the other, we’re often able to find a beautiful color match that will work perfectly for your print materials.

Samples and Proofing

Because of the differentiation in color spaces, it’s always important to be careful about a project where the specific color choice is vital to the end product. We always double-check the calibration on our screens, and make sure that we soft-proof the print in the printer’s color space before printing. However, if you want to make sure that a certain print will show up a specific way (especially before you print a lot of copies, for example) then you’ll want to obtain samples of colors, and sometimes even a hard copy proof, to make sure you have the one you want.

If you have any questions about the colors on your project, give us a call. Printing is our business, day in and day out, and we can help you achieve just the results you want on your next project.

Matching Screen Color and Print Color

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