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Color Quality

 The topic of Color Quality could cover volumes. This section is in no way meant to be an exhaustive reference to the topic, rather a ink_sm.jpg"quick guide" to help our customers stay away from common issues we have seen in the past.


About Color Proofs
RGB - CMYK Conversion
Printed blacks are not all created the same




About Color Proofs

MWM Dexter provides two types of color proofs.  An electronic proof is the quickest and most cost effective way to preview your product before it is printed.  However, you should be aware that electronic proofs are in no way accurate for viewing color. If you’re just confirming placement of elements, spelling, etc. this option is great. 

If you’d like to check color prior to printing, we recommend a digital matchprint. This is a paper proof that shows color more accurately than an electronic proof. This proof will also be finished as your final printed piece will be. For example, if your finished piece hole punches, your color proof will also be hole punched. This lets you ensure that no elements of your piece are in danger of being lost during finishing.

Digital matchprint proofs are included in the price of most sheet and calendar products. Color proofs are available on postcard products for an additional fee. Approved proofs should be returned before production can resume. Production time does not include the time the proof is in transit or out for viewing.

Digital matchprint proofs are not representative of the coating or paper stock used in the actual printing process.  Digital matchprint proofs are shipped via overnight service at the customer’s expense unless otherwise specified.  Please proof your product carefully. We make every attempt to ensure your proof is accurate; however MWM Dexter cannot be responsible for errors on proofs that are approved for printing.

Contact your Printing Consultant if you have questions about color proofs.



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Scanners, digital cameras and computer monitors use red, green and blue (RGB) light to display color.
Presses print with cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink instead of RGB light, and therefore produce a different range of color.

To print on a four-color press, all RGB files must be converted into CMYK.






RGB lights combine to make white 


CMYK inks combine to create black 

Certain RGB colors that you can see on your monitor or camera (in particular, bright vibrant colors) simply cannot be replicated with standard CMYK inks. These unachievable RGB colors are said to be "out of the CMYK color gamut." When selecting colors for your print project, we recommend using CMYK color builds to avoid potential RGB conversion issues.

You are more likely to notice color shifts when you use a solid, bright color as a background or fill.






RGB Colors
(what you see on screen)


CMYK colors
(printed with ink)

When viewing designs or proofs on your monitor, keep in mind several realities: Monitor types vary in how well they can display color and graphics; generally CRT monitors have the best color and resolution; flat and LCD monitors have poorer color quality and limited resolution; individual monitor settings such as brightness, contrast, frequency, temperature, etc. will also affect your color accuracy. 

You can improve the color accuracy of your monitor through a process called calibration.  This is where we would send you our set of calibration tools so that the color on your monitor at your home of office will match the color displayed on our monitors here in production.

A highly useful tool for selecting reproducible CMYK colors is the Pantone Process Color Guide. This swatch guide displays over 3,000 colors with corresponding color builds, and is available on pantone_guide.jpgboth coated and uncoated stock. This is strongly recommended if you will be doing repeat printing projects, or have color concerns.  Keep in mind that if you do not find an acceptable reproducible CMYK version of a Pantone ink, we can print your custom printing project using an exact PMS color.  Just contact us for a custom quote.  

What all this boils down to is that images on your monitor will always look somewhat different than the final printed piece and if you have critical color concerns, consider consulting a Pantone Process Color Guide or a hard copy proof.  




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RGB - CMYK Conversion

To be able to print on a four-color press, all RGB files must be translated into CMYK. This conversion can be easily done in most image editing programs.

We are happy to convert your images from RGB to CMYK, however we will do a standard-value conversion, which may result in a color different than you were expecting. We cannot be responsible for sub-par results if you furnish RGB images.

You will have more control over the appearance of your printed piece if you do the color conversion yourself. We want you to be happy with your printed piece, so please take the time to prepare your file as recommended to ensure the best quality product.

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Printed blacks are not all created the same.

Computers display color with RGB light, while presses print with CMYK ink. On computer monitors, all blacks will generally appear consistent. But when printed, inconsistent black builds will be obvious. It is important to know the CMYK builds of any blacks used in your project so that you can achieve the results you want.

Some Guidelines:

  • When black is the text color, we recommend using 100% black (0 C / 0 M / 0 Y / 100 K) for crispest results. If you have a solid black area larger than two square inches, we recommend using a "rich black" to achieve a thicker, darker and more uniform color. MWM Dexter recommends a rich black color build of 60 C / 40 M / 20 Y / 100 K.
  • When you have two neighboring backgrounds, adjoining color builds should match to achieve a seamless appearance.
  • If your piece has a black or dark color background, we highly recommend that you have aqueous coating applied. Dark backgrounds are more likely to show fingerprints and smudges. Aqueous coating can minimize smudging.

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