How to print color in books and color on screen.
How to print color in books and color on screen, or why is the color off? As discussed in Chapter 2, Planning a Book, color book design, CMYK process color will not always look the same as RGB, because RGB is made up of three lights: Red, Green, and Blue. It is meant for viewing on digital devices.
Process color is made up of the four inks used in color printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK. These are the inks used to print color photographs on commercial printing presses. This offers a narrower color array than RGB. While we would love to have RGB color in books, it is not possible unless we put a monitor on every page.
The good news is that software technology in general, and monitors have improved in recent years. “Pleasing color” or even “exact match” color is easier to achieve, but not always possible. Do not blame the designer or printer quite yet! There are a few things that you need to know to be realistic about color. Sometimes our expectations must be adjusted.
The color shift
When RGB images are converting to CMYK, you may see color shift on the screen as you convert the images in Photoshop. Most of the time, please use the U.S. Sheetfed Coated v2 destination space profile for Star Print Brokers. Other printers may use a different profile. While we can convert images for you, we ask the self-publisher or book designer to do the conversion, so the shift can be seen with one’s own eyes on one’s own monitor.
Most often, the greatest color shift is in the blues, especially blue skies. It also happens in hot pink. However, we did an entire photography book with fuchsia flowers and they all turned out perfectly. This shift in color may also show up more in metallic colors.
If you see a digitally output proof, the color may not be exact. A lot of that has to do with the output device. One round, a full set of physical digitally output proofs is included in every quote we do. However, some may want a press proof or wet proof to see exact match. This is quite costly and usually not necessary.
Book printing is an art, not a science
The average person does not see color with the very keen eye of a photographer, fine artist, or top graphic designer. While we usually please even the fussiest, we cannot please everyone all of the time. Printing a book is not like printing one poster 50,000 times. There are many color pages in coffee table books. We can print pleasing color or exact match. But not even the finest printers guarantee perfect color on every page of every book. Additionally, each individual perceives color in their own unique way.
Variations in color
Please use default Adobe InDesign settings unless we advise a change. Don’t use any SWOP profile, as it is for web presses. Star Print Brokers prints on sheet fed presses. Web presses use huge rolls of paper, usually to print newspapers or magazines.
Color in print
When viewing any color in print, standardized lighting conditions are critical, using daylight lighting, 5000 K lamps. The International Standards Organization established ISO 3664:2009. When viewing printed images, a light source replicating D50 light should be used. That is not realistic for most readers.
Monitor and screen on color
When viewing color on a computer monitor, laptop, iPad, iPhone, or any digital screen or monitor, it must be realized that the viewing device may not be color-calibrated correctly or calibrated at all. Additionally, the lighting conditions are almost never the standardized ISO 3664:2009.
About destination space and ICC profiles
Our printers moved away from using ICC profiles in recent years, but POD providers use them as they output pages on digital output devices. We ask clients to use the Destination space profile (File > Convert to Profile) U.S. Sheetfed Coated v2 or U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated v2. An ICC profile is not needed, but we can provide one if they insist. Each image is ready for press when converted to CMYK using one of the above profiles.
- Star Print Brokers can convert your images as described above.
- POD vendors can give you an ICC profile for their specific output devices.
- Other printers may give you a profile that is different than what we would specify.
Know the paper stock finish to select inks
Will you use coated or uncoated stock? Most authors prefer coated stock, especially for coffee table books. The interior pages of a hardcover book are usually printed on coated stock, but not always.
Book interior and cover | Color printing set-up
Coated or Uncoated paper
There are different InDesign library options to select from in the Swatches palette. Go to Swatches and select “New Color Swatch” from the pull-down menu and choose your option.
Spot color setup
|Color mode:||Pantone + Solid Coated or Pantone + Solid Uncoated |
depending on the paper stock used.
Process color, CMYK setup
|Color mode:||CMYK or other Pantone libraries.|
|Example:||Pantone + Color Bridge Coated for coated stock.|
|Example:||Pantone + Color Bridge Uncoated for uncoated stock.|
|Example:||CMYK if you are picking a color out of a photograph|
with the eyedropper tool.
We use the library for coated or uncoated stock depending on the stock being used. I also use the Pantone Color Bridge color modes in conjunction with physical Pantone Color Bridge fan decks.
Endpapers | Color printing set-up
Go to Swatches and select “New Color Swatch” from the pull-down menu and choose your option.
Scenario: A self-publisher wants nice, deep black endpapers. They do not want the endpapers to print in spot black, using 100 percent black. To achieve the deeper black, either spot or process may be used. The endpaper examples are for uncoated endpapers which are standard.
Spot color setup
|Color mode:||Select Pantone + Color Solid Uncoated on the pull-down|
menu. Scroll to the bottom of the color list to find black inks.
Select one, choosing from Pantone Black 2 U through U7.
U = Uncoated
Process color, CMYK setup
|Color mode:||While you can select CMYK, you might also select Pantone +|
Color Bridge Uncoated from the pull-down menu.
Scroll to the bottom of the color list to find black inks. Select
one, choosing from Pantone Black 2 U through U 7.
UP = Uncoated Process
You can also use these instructions to set any other ink choices in spot or process inks on uncoated stock. We call our uncoated paper “Woodfree.”