Best practices for evaluating color include the use of a quality color measurement instrument, but it should also include visual evaluation under controlled lighting. Why?
Just because a spectrophotometer says your color is within tolerance, doesn’t necessarily mean it will look right to the human eye.
To make sure your color evaluation process is the best it can be, ensure your color workflow includes these 4 important elements:
Make sure you are using the correct process to evaluate incoming material for color accuracy and consistency. This includes both paper and inks. If base materials are not correct, it is virtually impossible to get color right on press. Use both visual evaluation under controlled lighting and measurement of spectral values to get the whole picture.
Use an instrument such as the X-Rite i1Pro 2 to create ICC profiles for viewing, proofing and printing devices. All devices should be aligned to ensure a color-consistent workflow.
Using software such as X-Rite's InkFormulation Software ensures fast, accurate ink formulation developed to customer specifications. Using InkFormulation Software, you will reduce the need to reformulate inks once on press, saving time and reducing waste.
Be sure to use a quality spectrophotometer such as the X-Rite eXact in your pressroom to ensure accurate color during makeready and to periodically evaluate sheets off the press. This will help in ensuring that press sheets match the proof. But don’t stop there. Use a light booth such as the X-Rite Judge QC to check press sheets under controlled lighting. This is an important validation step in ensuring that press sheets match the proof, and to check for metamerism.