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Commentary & Analysis

Color Management for Marketing


By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: March 8, 2007

--- Special Feature - Sitting In Color Management for Marketing by Eric Olesh March 8, 2007 -- Color management is a technology frequently talked about but less understood. Buzzwords such as color management module, rendering intents, and working spaces are tossed about, yet there are many clients dissatisfied with the quality of the four-color process jobs they paid for. Regardless of the technology used, its purpose is to manage the color. And it has to be managed if it is to deliver the correct message. There are marketing managers, sales managers, workflow managers, but what about color managers? There are marketing managers, sales managers, workflow managers, but what about color managers? Perhaps there’s the problem right there. The technology is here, but no one is dedicated to it. Color reproduction issues tend not to be dealt with until there is a crisis. An expensive job is printed and the client is less than happy with the result. Because they expect a certain color and don't get it. Call it a branding thing. Color and Branding For most companies, brand identity is among the most important aspects of their business. In a marketplace jam-packed with companies producing similar products and services, the most visible way to distinguish one from another is through how the company communicates. Accurate reproduction of corporate and logo colors in all printed communications is vital. After all, what is the point of creating a custom logo color if the color is not consistently produced everywhere? In brochures, on bills and statements, on billboards. A poor reproduction dilutes the integrity of the company and can even hinder brand recognition. By producing print media that more accurately and consistently conveys the company message, the more brand recognition and loyalty can be built. Effective use of color management technology can even help increase the bottom line. The days of the print provider driving the process are over. By being more versed in the technical issues of color management, companies have a significant advantage in maintaining the integrity of the message that is being portrayed. There is no better time or opportunity than now to take advantage of color management. Yet the number of companies and advertisers well-versed with this technology are few and far in between. Learning to manage color will provide a serious advantage over companies that are ignoring such an important tool in their marketing campaigns. I suspect there will be many who will be kicking themselves in a few years for not getting up to speed today. Color Transformation The method of how color was managed in the past versus today has undergone a tremendous transformation. Those who refuse to learn the new techniques will fight like cornered rats to prevent change. Those who embrace this new technology will reap the fruits of their labor, including decreased costs, increased earnings, and customer loyalty. It is the soft assets that will distinguish who you are. The past methods of color management include using films, adjusting dot area, and creating analog proofs. Today’s methods are based on digital workflows, digital proofs, and quantitative measurements to ensure color is being produced correctly. The days of the print provider driving the process are over. Today, the content creator has tremendous control and has to be knowledgeable about the technical aspects of color reproduction. But while the ability to do one's own tone and color correction has arrived, the opportunity for things to go wrong has increased. This is why it is necessary to learn how to manage color; and it’s a huge opportunity that few have yet to exploit. In the information age, content is king. It is the soft assets that will distinguish who you are. The new tool for marketing is managing color and should be on the same pedestal as earnings. If increasing exposure and brand recognition is on your agenda the opportunity to do so is here. Eric Olesh is founder of the color management site ColorMadePlain.com. He holds a BS in Printing Management and Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology and is certified in statistical process control. He can be reached at EricOlesh@colormadeplain.com.



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