How Building Custom Printer Profiles Produce Better Color

Last updated: 08-11-2020

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How Building Custom Printer Profiles Produce Better Color

On a recent Saturday (Yes, we love our jobs so much that we are willing to work weekends!), we visited a client site and built three profiles for them in one day. We even managed to squeeze in some spot color work that day.

When we arrived, our client showed us print examples to illustrate where he was having trouble with color management. He asked us to profile his UV flatbed printer on two different substrates and his smaller inkjet roll printer.

In the case of the roll printer, our client was frustrated with the gray balance of his print jobs. When he printed a mostly gray image, the result consistently had a greenish tint to it. (See accompanied image.)

Why would gray print green? Well, it could be because our client was using the canned profile that came with the printer. We hoped that by making a custom profile of the printer that we could get him good gray balance.

Before we explain the difference between canned and custom profiles, you need to understand what a profile actually is.

A profile is a characterization of a printing device’s condition at a certain moment. It takes into account many variables that can affect print quality such as humidity, temperature, RIP settings, substrate and ink. When any of these variables change, it affects the profile of the printer and ultimately the quality of its printing.

While printers have out-of-the-box default or canned profiles, they aren’t always representative of the best the printer has to offer for print quality. In our client’s example, his printer’s canned profile made it difficult for him to achieve gray balance.

Using a profiling process called the Color Management Pyramid, as taught by Printing United Alliance, we were able to create a custom profile for this machine. When we re-printed the example, we saw the gray balance improvement right away. The custom profile solved the problem.

It’s been great to be able to get back onsite with our clients to help them with problems like gray balance. While there are some things that we can do online, we are much more efficient in person when we can actually witness what is happening.

However, you could learn how to use the Color Management Pyramid to create custom profiles yourself. We are hosting a live online Color Management Boot Camp starting Aug. 17th. You can watch a free preview video, take a peek at the agenda and register by clicking here. We’d like to thank Mimaki USA for sponsoring this workshop.

As always, you can email Shelby with any questions about profiles, consulting and other training opportunities at

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