Profiling a press

Due to being new to color management, I’ve been looking into profiling a press. I’ve been told that you should have your press match your proof. (Now from what I understand, since there color gamuts are larger on a proof setter than on a press, its almost impossible to match a press to a proof). I’ve also been told the opposite, which is to have your proof match your press. (In order to do so, you would have to get your press to a good gray balance, and then plug in the profile from the press into your proofer. This will give a good representation of what the “proof” will look like on press). Since these two methods are different, I was wondering if there is anyone who can inform me on which is the “true” way to profile and get a good match between a proof and a press sheet.


Hi Ralph,

Since the press is the animal that is going to be doing the actual work of printing up your work, the purpose of a proofer is to let you know what the press is going to look like without having to fire up the entire press just to get to get a sample off. So it really doesn’t matter which side of the equal sign these two are on, the trick is to get them to be equal. With most presses being hard to control, it is enough work to just get the press back to a consistent state every day (calibrated). For this reason it is often a better choice to get the proofer to match the press, and then profile the proofer.

The proofer having a bigger gamut is a good thing since it can then fully encapsulate the printing ability (gamut) of the press. So when “getting the proofer to match the press” you use profiles to - in essence - limit the gamut of the proofer to match the press.

The person who told you to run the press with gray balance was the right person. The press is fairly simple. 4-colors, white paper, good light, and a consistant ink density in gray balance. You will have the best target you can get. I recommend you pull 50 sheets when the press is “up to speed” and select 10 random sheets. Allow them to dry and read each target. Average the target findings and create your profile.
You will then “dumb down” the inkjet proofer to print just like the press.
Good proofing software will handle the ICC exchange. Watch your inkjet ink densities. They can go way over the presses’ densities and screw everything up.