Color Profiling is about consistent, repeatable color over time. You should be able to print a file on printer A and then be able to print the same file on printer B six months later and they should match within the allowable Delta E for your shop. Another benefit? Properly profiled printers use up to 25% LESS ink per job. This is color profiling!
It’s a misnomer to think that printing with CMYK inks is four color printing. The reality is that it’s five color printing. Ink is transparent and relies on the presence of opaque white to create color. If you put UV ink onto a black substrate, you will barely be able to see the image. The same image printed on a white foam board jumps off the media. Put that same image on another manufacture’s white foam board and the image may look completely different. This is because the white becomes your fifth color.
Every media needs to be profiled. This profile includes the whiteness and the factor at which it absorbs ink – gain. When you profile your media and add your ink profile then you have a complete profile that can now be used to give you consistent color over time on that same printer and media. If we look back at the black substrate, we need to print an undercoat of white to create an opaque surface for the color ink to reflect light through. The “whiteness” of the white ink is different for every ink manufacturer and becomes a big factor when profiling between printers.
So now we need to take this idea across all medias that are used in a shop. If you have 10 medias that are used and 3 printers, would we need 30 profiles? The reality is we would only need 10. Each printer’s available color space is determined and laid over the next. The common color gamut between the three printers is now your “house” color space. When an image is now printed on an offset press, an OKI toner machine or a UV wide format press the color of each image is within an acceptable Delta E and the shop is now color calibrated. It becomes printing by the numbers.