Commentary & Analysis
The Color Shopping Network
By Pete Rivard At trade shows the outermost aisles are the domain of the disrespected September 27,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: September 27, 2005
By Pete Rivard At trade shows the outermost aisles are the domain of the disrespected September 27, 2005 -- Experienced travelers will tell you that the best way to experience the culture of one's travel destination is to get off the beaten path. Skip the tourist traps and the franchise restaurants. Find the unadvertised eateries known only to locals. Hire a local guide and probe less trodden pathways. At trade shows, one follows this philosophy by combing the outermost aisles, those closest to the exhibition hall walls, with the small booths. Invariably, these aisles are the domain of the disrespected; the educational institutions, the start ups, the dreamers and the tinier support organizations that trail behind the superpowers with their massive booths like camp followers behind an army. Little organizations squeezed into booths so small you wonder if the trade show is charging downtown Tokyo rates for square footage. Nonetheless, I am never disappointed by the payback from strolling trade show back alleys. At one such booth at Print 05, (8633 to be precise) I came across two members of a fascinating coalition known as ColorManagement.com, Earl McGhee and Steve Upton. This crew is a national network of certified color expertise for hire. In fact, their website hawks their services like Amazon.com; you can literally drop a color management consultant into your shopping cart right next to the spectrophotometer, the box of profiling software and the carton of pigmented inkjet ink. Better call the wife to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. Honey, do we need any calibration strips for the X-Rite? We're good? OK. Love you too. You can literally drop a color management consultant into your shopping cart right next to the spectrophotometer, the box of profiling software and the carton of pigmented inkjet ink. As an educator whose students are snapped up as fast as we can graduate them, I am often told by employers that they hire the Dunwoody grad due to a dire need for new blood relative to the topic of color and color management. They need workers who don't fear working in RGB mode in Photoshop and who also speak fluent LAB. Owners are in terror of upgrading color RIPs on their wide formats because no one on staff can create new paper linearizations and profile all their various conditions. Often, they have senior prepress employees who refuse to leave the comfort of CMYK. If they don't have a local expert, they'll fly one in. It's those organizations in need of color management support, software and hardware installation and training that need to know about ColorManagement.com. McGhee, for example, is a Chicagoland independent specializing in new software installation and product training. He said ColorManagement.com identifies the closest qualified color support specialist with the company in need and dispatches that expert as quickly as their schedule and the client's credit permits. They seem to run on a model akin to a Saturn dealership: the price is the price. No haggling, and they'll take their money up front, thank you. If they don't have a local expert, they'll fly one in. You can also peruse their gallery of experts online and request a specific individual. Colormanagement.com pre-qualifies every expert in their stable. The website bios clearly state which products each member is certified in. I recognized about a third of the luminaries on the list. Abhay Sharma, the author of Color Management, a thorough text on the subject that we use at Dunwoody, is one such deployable asset. So is Chromix's Steve Upton, who publishes a periodical that keeps many updated on color management topics. As our industry evolves away from a manufacturing model knowledge workers need to be either on staff or on call. As our industry evolves away from a manufacturing model and toward an on demand, flexible workflow service model, knowledge workers need to be either on staff or on call. As vendors seek to trim their operating costs, it makes more sense to certify independent consultants to augment in house talent. I look for more businesses such as ColorManagement.com to flourish. Now, if we can just get them a little more booth space. . . .