Is color management for me?

The material in these guides is recommended for advanced users – such as creative professionals – who require the highest possible precision in rendering color. For most users, an understanding of the advanced concepts of color management is not necessary to produce a great-looking book with Blurb.

For more information, visit our Color Management Resource Center.

How to Set Up a Blurb Color-Managed Workflow

You can create more consistent color reproduction – given the hardware limitations of today’s print on demand (POD) printers – by:

  1. Calibrating your monitor
  2. Installing the Blurb ICC Profile
  3. Saving your final images in the proper color-space for your workflow:
    • BookSmart images MUST be RGB (sRGB for best results)
    • Adobe InDesign or PDF to Book images should be CMYK (sRGB okay)

For an explanation of basic color management concepts, read An Introduction to Color Management before proceeding with this document.

Calibrating Your Monitor

A properly calibrated and profiled monitor is required in order to accurately edit color images. A variety of low-cost monitor profiling software/hardware bundles are available today. They include the Colorvision Spyder, the X-Rite Eye One Display series, as well as self-calibrating/profiling monitors such as the Eizo CE and CG series. These packages are quick to install and the entire procedure often takes less than ten minutes. Monitors drift with usage and time, so we recommend monthly re-calibrations to ensure an accurate display.

A profiled monitor allows you to view your images in CMYK, sRGB, or Adobe RGB more accurately, and to also soft proof your images. Soft proofing is a special preview feature in Adobe® Photoshop® and InDesign® that allows you to see on your monitor how your images will print on a particular device. With a color-managed workflow, you’ll be able to see how your images will reproduce on the HP Indigo using Blurb’s paper stock. This workflow also works with the Xeikon print device Blurb also uses throughout our print network for covers.

Because there are many different monitors on the market, we can’t show how to calibrate them all. Rods and Cones created the Blurb ICC Profile and specializes in setting up and supporting color-managed workflows and selling monitor calibration hardware, software, and support packages. Rods and Cones is a good place to start if you need more information for calibrating your monitor. X-Rite also offers reference materials on monitor calibration.

Using the Blurb ICC Profile

Color management works its digital magic by converting from one color space into another color space while trying to preserve the closest possible color match. Color management requires an accurate description of the source color space and the destination color space. This description is known as an ICC profile.

ICC profiles are digital files that contain the color gamut information of a particular device or abstract color space such as sRGB. Most ICC profiles are created by physically measuring the output of a device and then making sure to maintain the device in good working order so that its behavior doesn’t change from the readings.

The Blurb ICC Profile is based on the GRACoL2009 reference used in high-end commercial printing. Our entire print network adheres to this standard on all of their print devices for the most consistent results possible with print on demand.

To use the ICC profile, you must download and install it on your computer. The profile name is Blurb ICC Profile and it is available from Blurb’s Color Management Resource Center. Below are steps for installing the profile on a Mac or PC. Check out our video that shows how to do this on either a Mac or PC.

Installing the Blurb ICC Profile on Mac OS X

Figure 1. Installing on Mac OS X
Figure 1. Installing on Mac OS X

Place the Blurb ICC Profile file into the following directory: Main HD > Library > ColorSync > Profiles (see Figure 1).

If you are using Adobe CS, you can also place the profile in the Recommended directory for Adobe applications. Placing the profile here makes using it more convenient because it will appear near the top of the profiles list inside Adobe applications (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Installing for Adobe CS
Figure 2. Installing for Adobe CS

Main HD > Library > ColorSync > Profiles > Recommended.

Installing the Blurb ICC Profile on Windows

Figure 3. Installing on Windows
Figure 3. Installing on Windows

Right-click on the profile and select Install Profile. It’s that easy (see Figure 3).

If you’re using Adobe CS, you can also place the profile in the preferred directory for Adobe applications. Placing the profile here makes using it more convenient because it will appear near the top of the profiles list inside Adobe applications.

C Drive > Program Files > Common > Adobe > Color > Profiles > Recommended.

You now have the Blurb ICC Profile available to use in your image workflow.

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