Mar 182011


Scanners and Monitors use an emitted light, and so images are produced using red, green & blue coloured lights (or “guns”).

When printing we are usually coating a white surface with colour. This means that we use cyan, magenta, yellow & black inks or toners to reflect colour.

To match what you see on your monitor accurately on your printer, both devices need to be carefully calibrated and profiled. If you do this you have the best chance of this situation.

It’s important to note, that some people mistakenly adjust their monitor by eye to look more like what their printer produces. The reason they do this is so that they can predict what a print will look like on their printer, but there are some serious flaws in doing this:

You are completely forgetting what colour data in in your file (because now both your monitor and printer are producing incorrect results) and when you send that file outside for someone else to print you are almost 100% guaranteed of a different result from their printer that you aren’t expecting or want. This is not because they have done anything wrong, the problem (although it might not at first thought seem to be) is with your setup. Unfortunately I have often herd of some suppliers suggesting this as a way of matching a screen to a printer and it’s totally bypassing the true problem.

The accurate way to resolve this situation is to use measurement equipment and software to calibrate and profile BOTH your monitor and your printer media. This allows them both to know how to accurately produce the colour in your file and by default, they will match each other.


Some monitors are not capable of being calibrated the same as the high end equipment, and often this can be why there is a noticeable difference in cost between a cheap LCD or CRT to a quality monitor built specifically for the colour critical markets.

This can also have other benefits such as stability meaning that the monitor requires re-calibration less often. Often cheap, or quite old monitors are not capable of producing accurate colour results, even with calibration and profiling and should be replaced with equipment that can. Monitors that are colour critical should be replaced about every 2 years to ensure accuracy and consistency. Higher quality monitors will last much longer but remember: “you get what you pay for”.

Compare Colour specialist monitors at cielab colourshop

These two colour process cannot be absolutely 100% matched due to the different systems, although when both are correctly calibrated & profiled, they can become visually very close depending on the quality of your equipment and the software you use.


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