Welcome to my blogging duel with TEAM UK’s Matthew Parker. If you have been following along you can skip right to the post… and if you are just joining us, here is some background…
Matthew and I haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Print Buying. He comes from the UK procurement world, and I come from the USA agency world. We used to argue about process, but over the years it has turned into a mutual respect. However, that doesn’t mean we now agree, or see things the same way! As a matter of fact, most of the time we don’t. So we decided to turn that into Print Buying: #UKvUSA and share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond!
At the end of my post is a link to Matthew’s post on the same subject. We don’t know each other’s response before writing our own. Maybe we will agree, maybe we wont, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part! We have also set a 500 words or less format to keep things moving along.
Please do leave comments and if you happen to support one side over the other let us know on either blog! I am proudly representing TEAM USA, and we are using #UKvUSA on Twitter. LET THE DUEL COMMENCE!
#UKvUSA: Who Really Cares About Color
I would hope the answer to this is everyone, because on some level we all care about the quality of print we pay for or produce. However, I did say “hope” on purpose because I don’t believe everyone is doing their best when it comes to mastering CMYK and beyond.
It starts with the press, and the people who make it. They certainly do their testing and create color profiles that get passed along to their customers. Are they tested and adjusted after that, and put through any local quality control – well only the printers know that. But lets say they are – is that info clearly being communicated to the buyers and designers upfront to help them get the best color? Personally, I have always had to ask as a responsive measure to a color issue, and the issue could have been prevented if the information was proactively shared.
And you can‘t really discuss color without discussing paper. Many paper companies do an excellent job working with press manufacturers to get “certified” as paper partners. That is great news. Now see up there and apply to paper. If buyers and designers don’t know which papers work best on what presses for what amount of color coverage, and the ranges for gradients and screens on the specific press you are printing on, how relevant is that first step between the paper companies and the manufacturers to the end user?
And none of the above matters if the buyers and designers have no clue that any of this is controllable prior to being on press. If color matters to you then so does pre-press and proofing… and I mean a line item in every relevant estimate for image retouching/color correction, and another for at least two rounds of hard proofs… that means no PDF’s for color!
Last group in this “who really cares” matrix is ultimately the most important, at least to my fellow advertising and in-house marketing buyers. That would be the client, aka the one paying us. There are some clients out there who will take every piece you print and put them next to each other and compare. They don’t care that some are offset using PMS, and some are digital using approved CMYK values. They don’t care that they agreed to use a different paper, or a different printing process to save on costs. All they care about is that their color is their color, and the rest is our problem.
I didn’t even touch upon printing in multiple locations or in other/multiple countries… all of which can be disastrous, trust me! So again – I still “hope” that we all think color matters and are doing our best to create the best print we can, but odds are there is vast room for improvement, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to make it happen!
Next month: Who Really Chooses Paper?
Until then… keep your color popping and join in the lively (sometimes riotous) conversations about the #UKvUSA duel topics in the Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on ours!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group, the #1 Print Group on LinkedIn, and host of the weekly industry #PrintChat on Twitter. She has more than 25 years experience working in advertising and marketing, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors.