Why does my color look so different from screen to print?


This is a common question from many of our customers when they see their first proof or final printed product: why does my color look so different from what is on my computer screen?  There are several possible answers to this question. Let’s review the most common reasons your colors could look different in print.

The first and easiest answer is that most computer monitors are not calibrated for print and furthermore, no two monitors are calibrated the same!  What you see on your screen could look very different on your office mate’s computer, your personal computer and Julin’s prepress computers!  The monitors should give you a close representation of what your images will print like, but it can be hard for the screen to replicate them exactly, especially when you factor in the computers own calibrations and the adjustments to contrast and brightness you may have made to suit your tastes.

Some colors do not translate well from computer to print.  The builds your computer makes for specific colors may not translate well to print or vice versa.

Then there is the type of proofing your printer uses.  Most proofing equipment is calibrated to be a match to the color their presses produce but there can be slight differences.

Some of the biggest color shifts you could see come when you convert files or depending on the stock you print on.  As covered in previous posts, converting your files from RGB (the standard color profile on computers) to CMYK, converting spot colors to CMYK build and printing any color on an uncoated stock can result in big color changes.

If you have been designing in RGB or spot colors and then have your printer convert the files to CMYK for printing, you may see a big shift in some of the colors.  It is best to design in CYMK or convert before you send files so you can see those possible color shifts and adjust accordingly.  If you have only seen the sharpness of the images on screen, you may be shocked to see the color changes and “softness” you may see if you choose to print on an uncoated stock.  (See http://julin.com/2017/02/10/coated-or-uncoated-stock/, http://julin.com/2017/04/21/convertingtocmyk/, http://julin.com/2017/03/17/thecandtheu/ for more information)

Contact your Julin Representative if you have additional questions or if you have color concerns!