Yes! Simply put, print profiles ensure that your images print true to life, and match with perfect color after the ink has dried. Our goal is 100% perfect color. If your web-to-print solution doesn’t offer print profiles, color matching will be substandard and not consistent with your brand.
What are print profiles?
Print profiles are files that determine how colors are printed with a specific printer and paper. Combined with our print profile software, this transforms the image from the color space (range of colors) to the color space for the printer and paper. If your image has an embedded profile, we use this to determine the print profile.
Do you always need ICC profiles for accurate color-matched printing?
We are often asked if you need have or need ICC Profiles. The short answer is NO.
Why? Well, that requires a little deeper dive into what ICC profiles are. According to Wikipedia, this is the technical explanation:
In color management, an ICC profile is a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, or a color space, according to standards promulgated by the International Color Consortium (ICC). Profiles describe the color attributes of a particular device or viewing requirement by defining a mapping between the device source or target color space and a profile connection space (PCS). This PCS is either CIELAB (L*a*b*) or CIEXYZ. Mappings may be specified using tables, to which interpolation is applied, or through a series of parameters for transformations.
Every device that captures or displays color can be profiled. Some manufacturers provide profiles for their products, and there are several products that allow an end-user to generate his or her own color profiles, typically through the use of a tristimulus colorimeter or preferably a spectrophotometer.
Why this makes ICC unnecessary for certain print jobs
In layman’s terms, each paper product has its own unique white point. So if you are printing at home, and you tell your ink-jet printer that you are using XYZ Media with a specific ICC profile, the printer recognizes the TONE of that paper. But we don’t run our prints on basic desktop printers. We use the manufacturer’s profiles for all the commercial stock we carry, so we really count on our customers to give us the widest possible color gamut and take care of it from there.
If you assign Adobe RGB (1998) to your file before you “save as” or “export” your file, you are preserving a wider range / gamut. This helps us in printing anything from direct digital prints to rigid stock such as Sintra (PVC) or brushed aluminum Dibond. For soft stock, such as canvas or adhesive vinyl, it works the same way.
But where it is MOST important is in the photo printing process. Since we use a laser-exposed true archival photo media (Such as Fuji or Kodak), we want as much color info as possible. Using ICC in this case is the wrong approach, as we are not printing INK onto that paper. We use light, then chemically develop the print (RA-4) for a true, archival photo print.
So What Should You Send to Your Local Digital Printer?
Our preferred file type is an uncompressed .TIFF, at minimum 150-300 DPI at full print size, with Adobe RGB (1998) as the color profile. Yes, .JPG works, and yes, sRGB works, but you can get more out of your file if you use Adobe RGB (1998).
We hope this answered your questions or taught you a little bit about ICC profiles. Visit ArtisanHD.com to upload and print your images today!