#70 Calibrating color – don’t even try

I use 4 LCD screens and none of them are calibrated. They all render color differently.

Two of them I bought used and bruised – on purpose. The other two on Cyber-Monday sale. I like it that way because it allows me to see the range of aberration the client may see – whether it’s for print or web projects. And as you know, I’m a cheapskate. Creativity is the inverse of dollars. C=1/$

I only have a letter-size b/w laser printer for business
correspondence (as I said “invoices”). I don’t proof in my studio any more. If I want to see it, for safety sake (rarely), I have it output on a weekly-calibrated digital printer at my favorite shop. I’m comfortable with my methods and know what to expect. Printing is not just an act of faith any more.

Most of the color problem is with the client and not your equipment. It’s cheaper to “fix” the client. It can be as easy as buying and gifting them a Pantone fan for reference. I’ve done that. They love it. It works great for communications.

I see all screen calibration gadgetry as preying on the anxieties of designers. It’s a human problem not a machine problem.

If you are going to spec Pantone and print it in 4-color CMYK then I recommend buying a conversion-shift swatch book (Pantone process color simulator $239 -color bridge). I bought mine used on Ebay. It was missing a few swatches but it only cost me $20. I then, in advance, show the client how the color will change when printed. They are shown side by side for comparison. see image below.

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