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Color In Print vs Your Monitor

King-Tut-Printing-and-Reprographics_Color-In-Print-vs-Your-MonitorA common misconception about print is that what you see on your monitor is what you’ll get, but that’s never the case.

There are numerous technical reasons why but it basically comes down to a properly color calibrated monitor. At King Tut Printing, our monitors are color calibrated to match the state of the art digital press we use.

Most computer monitors are just not calibrated to match a high end digital press. Most computer monitors have a generic ‘good enough’ factory setting because color calibrating every monitor would not be economically unfeasible. Basically, what you’re seeing on your screen right now is not it’s true color. It’s a rough estimation if what you’re seeing should look like.

We’ve included some examples to help illustrate this.

The image as we see it on our color calibrated monitor.

The first example is an image as we would see it. This image is about as close to what the image’s true color should be, based on the color profile in the actual image. Please note, the images in this article have been altered drastically to help illustrate how colors very from monitor to monitor. Since every monitor displays color differently, there’s no way to accurately show an image’s true color as you see it on your computer. 

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The image as seen on an uncalibrated Apple monitor.

The second example is what you would see on an average uncalibrated Apple monitor. Notice how the image is brighter and the colors are more saturated.

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Image as it would appear on a generic PC monitor.

The third example is what you would see on a modern uncalibrated PC. Uncalibrated PC’s generally display images with a bluer tone.

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Image as it would appear on an older model PC monitor.

The final example is the image as it would look on an older PC monitor. Uncalibrated older PC monitors tend to display images much darker than their modern high definition modern counterpart.

“Ok, so how do I get the colors to look right?”

It depends on what your definition of good is. ‘Good’ is very a subjective word, so if by ‘good’ you mean it needs to match what you see on your monitor, then that is something we cannot do. That is something no one can do. Your only realistic option would be to provide us with a printed sample for us to work from. Although, you’ll find that even printing out a sample has it’s own problems.

For example, if you print a hard copy at a Walgreens, a traditional photo lab, and a Kinkos’ you’ll end up with three different colors.

“So, what can I do?”

There are a few options. You could send us a good print that you feel is closest to what the colors should look like so we can work from that. We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we’re the best when it comes to matching prints. The other option would be to ask for a color proof but be warned, this takes much longer to finish the job since it involves mailing the proof to you. If you’re in a hurry for a project and absolutely need business cards asap, then this may not work for you.

“Trust Us!”

The final option is to trust us! We have over years of experience in the industry so we know what a good prints are supposed to look like! Come in to our shop or give us a call!


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