It’s amazing how quickly we forget the past. I remember the days of chromaline proofs, litho pens, films, bromides and Fuji’s! Don’t worry…I won’t get too nostalgic with you but things were very different in the industry 20 years ago. I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of an era in design and for that, I’m thankful.

Too few people remember what it used to be like and in a digital age that works on timelines that only sci-fi’s could provide in the 80’s, we often forget that we’re still not living in a perfect world.

In days gone by, a client would be provided with a sketch of your concept or of the campaign. Proofs were usually in separations or a ‘ blue‘ most of the time and for you to see a full colour Fuji, you were still paying over $100 in the early 90’s!

Today we have colour proofs at a third of the cost; on screen presentations with fully rendered graphics and colour profiling systems to ensure that everything turns out the way it should. Sounds great doesn’t it? I’m not so sure…

With the growth of technology, along with living in a nanosecond world, we tend to engage in processes that although extremely time efficient, may not be entirely accurate. You see most of the proofing that goes on these days is via PDF and email – or at best a colour laser. This makes for speedy turn arounds but it doesn’t account for the greatest evil known to a designer… the monitor!!!

You see, every monitor is different, every graphic’s card is different and thus every colour is different. In the design industry we use calibration equipment that factors in such as ambient light, gamma, etc to finely tune each monitor so as to truly represent colours as close as possible to the finished result.

Unfortunately, not many other people do this and thus when clients receive a proof via email, it can often look slightly different and sometimes look TOTALLY different.

We encounter the same issue with websites. Each monitor will not only display the colours differently but will also display the page slightly differently depending on the browser, screen resolution and colour settings.

I’m not saying that colour was any better 20 years ago but the expectations have changed. Clients expect to get what they see on screen. It’s a far cry from a pencil rendering but there are days when you wonder if the technology will ever get it right or if it becomes one of those things that we all come to accept.