Is sustainable packaging the new enemy of print experts?
Color management can be a challenge at the best of times. Introduce a new variable like sustainable packaging into the mix, and brand color consistency suddenly becomes even more complicated.
After all, how a color shows up on a specific type of material is going to vary. That seems obvious enough. But knowing that colors look different on different materials doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.
For print experts, brand color consistency isn’t just the goal anymore – it’s a requirement. So, here are several steps you can take to ensure you’re ready for any challenge that comes your way.
Sustainable Packaging: Know Your Materials
Study, and if necessary, bring yourself up to date with sustainable packaging and other similar materials. A simple Google search should provide you with plenty of relevant information.
Stay on top of the kinds of materials your clients request. This should give you a good idea of what materials you can expect to be working with, and the more familiar you are with different types of packaging, the better you will do your job.
Don’t Forget The Basics
As a print expert, you should be intimately acquainted with color management. This isn’t to suggest you know everything there is to know. But going back to the basics can help with any project you take on.
So, in case you’ve forgotten, here are some of the fundamentals you may want to review.
First, we know that printers are configured for CMYK. We also know that they use different inks and papers. It’s true with sustainable packaging as well.
So, when using applications like Photoshop or InDesign to prep your images, you must ensure that your settings are configured correctly.
Second, consistency is key. This may seem obvious. But there are plenty of things that can go wrong with monitors and printers. Color management is of little use if your hardware is faulty.
Third, take advantage of a color calibration tool for your monitor. For better or for worse, device colors can drift all on their own. So, you need to get your screens back to True North periodically.
Fourth, use a color measurement instrument to determine your device’s color reproduction characteristics.
Fifth, be sure to use embedded profiles with your files even with sustainable packaging. It’s not uncommon for designers to move their designs from one app to another, which means it also ends up being converted multiple times. It’s critical that your design retains its color characteristics from start to finish.
Taking these steps should help you get your materials looking the way you need them to. You can also use them to troubleshoot lousy color.
Increase Your Expertise
Even if you’ve spent a lot of time earning your qualifications and gaining experience as a print expert, it’s entirely possible that you’ve got gaps in your knowledge. Or, you may be able to augment and supplement what you already know to become an even more effective expert.
Moving forward, you could be working with a lot of sustainable packaging. And, if that’s the case, you’re going to want to be ready for anything that comes your way. The best time to start improving is now.
If in doubt, evaluate the situation and break it down into its components. First, study the materials you’re working with and how they behave when you print your designs on them. Second, go back to the basics of color management and ensure that you’ve covered your bases. Finally, if you’re still failing in your work, consider leveling up your expertise.
Have you had to work with sustainable packaging? Are there any tricks you’ve picked up in working with this type of material?
Let us know in the comments below.