Full color photo printing has gained immense popularity because of its ability to print gradient and/or fading colors on uneven surfaces in a high throughput, fast process (most orders can be shipped out within 24 hours of order confirmation). However, exact color matching with the artwork may be a challenge due to the fact that pantone matching often cannot be employed – especially in complex artworks with gradient colors or fading colors. To learn more about how we employ pantone matching for our promotional USB cards, click here to read our previous blog post: “Full-color photo printing: The way to go when printing Card-shaped USBs”. In such cases, factors such as color saturation, vibrancy, hue, brightness and contrast etc. must be tuned to yield a print that is as close as possible to the provided artwork for your promotional USB cards. Because the tuning of the colors is largely the responsibility of the printer operator, the operator’s experience and attention to detail is critical to yield the most representative and accurate print.
Our design and manufacturing team is completely devoted to ensuring that the final print of the promotional USB Cards meets the expectations of our clients. Our goal is to deliver a consistent, predictable experience to build customer loyalty and trust. Consequently, we have very stringent training and quality inspection and assurance criteria for full color photo printing. The general process is discussed below.
A few sample units of the promotional USB Cards are printed with the artwork prior to mass production. The printed samples are compared against the client approved USB Cards virtual proof to ensure colors, positioning, shape and size of the logo printed on the sample accurately matches client expectations. If the artwork has dark colors on one side and light colors on the other, a three hour wait period is implemented to ensure the lighter side is not affected by the colors used in the prior print. If the USB Cards artwork consists of text written with non-standard fonts, the text is converted to either smart object (in Adobe Photoshop) and/or outlines (in Adobe Illustrator), or the corresponding font style is sent along with the artwork, so that the software does not substitute the font with another if the font used to write the text is not available. The USB Cards artwork is carefully compared with the printed sample unit to see if the colors and text legibility matches the USB Cards virtual proof. In the case it does not, the appropriate actions are taken. Two major issues that often occur include:
- Color shades are either too dark or too light compared to the USB Cards virtual proof. In such cases, the color contrast, brightness is controlled to produce a unit which matches the proof more closely,
- Text legibility is lower than in the USB Cards virtual proof: often times the text legibility is reduced in print if the text size and/or text weight (boldness) is small and low, respectively. In such cases, the client is notified and the text is modified until it is legible and the artwork accurately depicts the printed sample unit. Once a close match between the printed sample unit and the client-approved USB Cards virtual proof is accomplished, this sample unit is replicated for mass production.
Figure 1 illustrates an example where the printer operator incorrectly tuned the color settings when printing one of our client’s artwork. This is reflected in the darker blue color in the sample print than the artwork. During quality inspection after printing a few samples, the batch was rejected and the colors were tuned to more accurately match the artwork. The revised print reflects a far better match with the approved artwork.
With our rigorous quality inspection and assurance processes in place, we can assure you that our USB cards will meet the highest quality standards.
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