Color Management

Color Management has been an essential part of the workflow throughout the pre-press and printing industry for many years now. As increasing numbers of designers and publishers roll up their sleeves to take a more active role in the desktop publishing pre-production workflow responsibilities, it is becoming ever more critical that an accurate color management workflow exists between the designer/publisher and the printer.

What Is Color Management?
The fact is that all your production devices – scanners, digital cameras, monitors, and printers (including us, your commercial offset printer) – reproduce colors differently. Color Management is simply a way to set up your environment (your workflow) to allow all these devices to “speak the same language”, or to interpret and display color similarly, so that you can get accurate and predictable results from beginning to end. Simply put, it is a way to get colors to look the same regardless of the hardware or platform used to capture, view, or print the image.

What Does Color Management Do?
We have for years used Color Management software and advanced hardware devices (Colorimeters, Spectrophotometers, etc.) to create profiles for all our devices, but most importantly, for our commercial offset printers. However, as a result of recent extensive testing of all available "generic" profiles for CMYK output and printing, we have found the FOGRA profiles to be extremely accurate and representative of the capabilities of all our printers and pre-press companies.

What is a profile?
A profile provides a description of each device’s “color gamut” (the range of reproduceable color). You will use these profiles in your workflow resulting in an accurate translation from one device to the next, giving you consistent, accurate, and predictable color. The goal is for you to be able to view on your monitor what will come back to you on our press proofs and ultimately in your printed product. This can only be done if your software and monitor know exactly how the image will look when it is printed on our commercial offset printing presses. The ICC profile contains this information which is shared with your ICC compliant software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Quark Express, Pagemaker and others.

If you wish to learn more about Color Management and ICC Profiles, we can suggest a few very good resources. However, if you feel that you are ready to download our profiles and get started implementing them into your workflow, just click the link below to access our various profiles.

ICC / ICM Profiles Available:
As mentioned previously, we no longer feel it necessary to create and distribute our own custom color profiles. Except under very specific and unusual circumstances (trying to compensate for color shifts using certain coatings, for example), we have found that the use of custom profiles is "over-kill." This is why after recent extensive testing of all available "generic" profiles for CMYK output and printing, we have found the FOGRA profiles to be extremely accurate and representative of the capabilities of all our printers and pre-press companies.

Below is a link for downloading the entire package of FOGRA standard of generated profiles. The downloaded file will be compressed using ZIP compression. When prompted, please save the ZIP file to your desktop, or other location on your computer, and use the appropriate program for extracting the profiles. The file(s) must then be copied or moved into the appropriate folder/directory on your computer. Unless otherwise specified by your ICC compliant software, this directory is usually as follows:

Windows XP, 7, 8 - WINDOWS\System32\spool\drivers\color
MAC OS X - System/Library/ColorSync/Profiles

CLICK HERE for FOGRA Profile Package
The profiles contained in this download are as follows:
coated_FOGRA39_GCR_bas.icc (used for all Gloss or Matte Coated Sheetfed printing)
wecoated_FOGRA28_GCR_bas.icc (used for all coated web papers)
Web_SC_FOGRA40_GCR_bas.icc (used for all Web Super Calendared Paper)
uncoated_FOGRA29_GCR_bas.icc (used for all UNCOATED sheetfed or web printing)
uncoatedYellow_FOGRA30_GCR_bas.icc (used for all uncoated YELLOW colored papers)
plus assorted SWOP and GRACoL profiles should you have a need for them.

*A Note about Profiles:
Generally speaking, RGB color gamuts are much larger than CMYK. There are many more colors available and reproduceable in RGB than in CMYK. Most graphic professionals prefer to work in RGB mode to take advantage of this expanded color gamut. This is especially important if you are doing any color correcting or retouching to your images. There is much more data in the RGB color gamut, so less data lost when converting to CMYK. You are advised to covert to the smaller profiles (CMYK) as the last step in your workflow. The largest of the RGB color gamuts is "ProPhotoRGB". Next is "AdobeRGB". We suggest you do most of your retouching in either of these generic color spaces. If you wish, you may keep your images in RGB color space, and we can do the final CMYK conversion for you. But the above CMYK profiles are especially helpful to you for "soft proofing" your images prior to sending them. Soft proofing in Photoshop (VIEW>Proof Setup>Custom....") will give you an instant preview of how your image will look on press by simply selecting one of our profiles. If you have any specific questions about color management, please email Bob Rock at

Links & Info

Norman Koren's Color Management Site
Excellent overview , leading into in-depth color management information and theory, as well as some additional links of interest. A very good starting point.

International Color Consortium
More in depth information including good explanations of "rendering intents."

Products, Forums, News, Resources, and more.

ICC PowerPoint Slide Show
Prepared by International Color Consortium.