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Color & Image FAQ

  • What is dpi and why is it important?
    Dpi (dots per inch) is the number of pixels that fit horizontally and vertically into a one-inch space. Images downloaded from web sites usually have an image of only 72 dpi, which is fine for viewing on a computer monitor, but too low for good print output. For an image to print properly, we typically want 300 dpi. However, wide format inkjet architectural drawings and posters will generally print fine at 96 – 150 dpi and process much faster.
  • What colors can you print?
    No device can display or print the entire spectrum of visible color. Your monitor portrays colors by combining red, green, and blue light to generate colors using an RGB model. Four color printing presses create “full color” by combining the four CMYK inks—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black—and then may add separate Pantone “spot” colors. Our color printer combines four different color toners to generate “full color” using a CMYK model.
    • The gamut of a device is that portion of the color space that can be reproduced. Software algorithms translate RGB and Pantone colors into the best match for our printer, but the gamut of colors is less than what you see on an LCD monitor, which itself is much less than the gamut of visible color.
  • What are Pantone colors?
    Pantone refers to standard Pantone Matching System colors that are created by mixing special inks according to specific formulas. They are identified by number, such as Pantone 294 Blue. Printers that use CMYK toners can mimic, but not replicate Pantone colors. Some colors are more difficult to match than others. Pantone colors can be selected in Adobe design programs and Microsoft Publisher, but not in Word or PowerPoint.
  • How do I get the best color matching?
    Request a printout of Pantone and RGB sample colors from Print Services. Use these printouts to select the closest matching Pantone color you want for files created in InDesign, Publisher, and Photoshop and for RGB colors in Word or PowerPoint.
    • Order a hard copy proof when color matching is important.
  • What is a proof?
    A proof is a test sheet made to reveal errors and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished. Print Services may require you to sign off on a proof copy before we run certain jobs.
  • Do you prefer files designed in the RGB or CMYK color space?
    We don’t care, so long as you realize that not all colors will replicate as you see them on the screen. Our color printer will convert to the closest matching color when processing.
    • Changing from RGB to CMYK will always produce some color shifting and a reduction in the color gamut because it is impossible to reproduce the entire RGB color palette on a 4-color device. That is also why your screen colors are much different from the printed colors. When color matching is important, we recommend that you select your color from a Pantone or RGB color sheet printed on the device we use.
    • If color accuracy is crucial, we recommend that you order a hard copy proof.