Why you should use color profiles – and how to install them correctly

Color profiles ensure a uniform print result on different papers. You only need to install the current variants and integrate them into your print data.

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

In September 2015, some color profile standards were revised and published by the International Color Consortium (ICC). These are being used more and more frequently, including by ONLINEPRINTERS – so you can already benefit from improved print quality today.

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Why color profiles?

Each medium represents colors individually: Images therefore look different on smartphones than on the monitor, a poster or a brochure.

In printing, papers in particular are a challenge, because they have different colorings and surface structures. Identical printing inks and motifs can have a completely different effect on different papers. With color profiles that take into account the specifics of papers and printing processes, the aim is to make colors look as similar as possible on all media.

To make this work, the International Color Consortium (ICC) is developing Color profiles for different media. The color profiles are available for free download (more on this in a moment), they are suitable for Windows, Mac OS and basically all other common operating systems. But ex factory the color profiles are usually not installed, so you should make up for it. In addition, you have to integrate the color profiles into your layout program; how to do this is also shown in detail below.

And as it is in research – it never stands still. The color profiles that are relevant for print shops (PSO coated& uncoated) have been available in an updated version since 2015. The current Version 3 of this standard promises even better color reproduction and color reproduction, especially on uncoated papers. But the requirements for measuring technology, standard light and proof papers have also changed with the printing standard 12647-2:2013.

For coated papers, such as image printing papers, ONLINEPRINTERS requires the color profile PSO coated v3. For uncoated papers, like offset and uncoated papers, we need the color profile PSO uncoated v3. On the product pages, you will find information on the required color profile in the "Data note" tab.

Install the new ICC color profiles (version 3)

Relevant for printing are the color profiles for coated and uncoated papers. The color profiles are free of charge, are provided by the ECI (European Color Initiative) and can be downloaded directly here as .zip file can be downloaded:

Alternatively, the profiles can of course also be found on the ECI page in the Downloads section and there in the CMYK exchange color space eciCMYK section. The profiles are also available as FOGRA 51 or. FOGRA 52 known.

Unzip the .zip files with an appropriate program. The rest of the installation procedure depends on the operating system.

Install color profile on Windows

Open the unzipped folder. With a right click on the corresponding color profile the dialog Install Profile appears . Confirm with a left click. Repeat this process with the other color profile. Ready!

Install color profile Windows

As an alternative to this procedure, you can also copy the color profiles manually to the following Windows folder: \WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

Install Color Profiles on Mac OS

Select the color profile in the respective unzipped folders and copy it.

Add the appropriate color profile either to this folder

or in this folder

If the Library folder cannot be found directly, proceed as follows: Go to the Finder menu bar , click Go To, and then press the alt key . The menu opens and in the middle you will find the entry Library . Select it and go to the ColorSync folder and then to Profiles .

Install color profile Mac Os_Color Sync

After you have installed the new color profiles, you need to take them into account accordingly when generating print data; see our further profile installation instructions starting with step 2.

Install ICC color profiles (older version 2)

Install ICC color profiles of the older version 2 basically the same way. As mentioned above, this is not necessary for ONLINEPRINTERS products, but it should be mentioned for the sake of completeness.

Under eci.org/en/downloads scroll to the item ICC-Profiles of the ECI (old versions) and download the file "eci_offset_2009.zip" file. This zip file must be saved and unzipped. With a right click on the file you can choose different unpacking options.

At least these ICC profiles should be installed on your device:

  • ISOcoated_v2_300_eci.icc
  • ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc
  • PSO_Uncoated_ISO12647_ECI.icc

ICC profile installation for Windows:

Open the extracted folder eci_offset_2009 and select the subfolder of the same name. Here you find beside information PDFs also .icc files recognized by Windows as an ICC profile.

Now click one profile at a time with the right mouse button and select Install profile : ISOcoated_v2_300_eci.icc, ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc and PSO_Uncoated_ISO12647_ECI.icc. Alternatively, copy the files into the Windows folder under the path \WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color .

ICC profile installation on Mac OS:

In the folder eci_offset_2009 select the subfolder _MACOSX and in it the folder ECI_Offset_2009. Copy the required profiles either to the /Library/ColorSync/Profiles folder or to /Users/[username]/Library/ColorSync/Profiles .

Now your operating system has the most important ICC profiles and you can make the necessary settings in Adobe InDesign and/or Photoshop. Select "ISO Coated v2 (ECI)" instead of "PSO Coated v3" and "PSO Uncoated ISO12647" instead of "PSO Uncoated v3" in case you need the older color profiles.

Install InDesign color settings

Once the ICC profiles are installed in the operating system, they are basically available to all applications. A restart is not usually necessary, but after installation you may have to. Restart the individual Creativ Cloud applications.

Attention: After installing color profiles Adobe programs may have to. be restarted so that the color profiles are applicable.

Set presets globally

You define the global color settings of Adobe InDesign by specifying the downloaded ICC color profiles as working color spaces. And it goes like this:

Click Color Settings in the Edit menu .

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

The desired control panel opens:

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

Adjust the settings as follows:

  • Settings: Custom in Advanced mode
  • Working color spaces:
  • RGB: Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB (smaller than Adobe RGB)
  • CMYK: PSO Coated v3
  • RGB: Preserve embedded profiles
  • CMYK: Keep values

These specifications are automatically saved by InDesign and are retained for the next projects as well.

However, the color profiles can also be defined for each file individually and independently of the global ideas. This makes sense, because for example for uncoated papers other profile data should be used. Select the desired color profile in the PDF export dialog.

PDF Export Settings

To create an InDesign file for PDF export, click File> Export . Select the file format Adobe PDF select a file name and click Save .

Now the window for the PDF export opens. Click Output . Now be sure to select the Convert to Target Profile (Preserve Values) option. The target here is then the color profile appropriate for your print product (coated v3 or uncoated v3).

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

In the export dialog you will find further important settings for the creation of print data. We explain this in detail in the article How to export print-ready PDFs.

Setting up color profiles in Photoshop

To include the color profile in Photoshop, proceed as follows:

Click on File and then on Save as . Select the file format Photoshop PDF select a file name and click Save .

photoshop color profiles filename

In the following dialog box, click Output . In the Color field select Color conversion select the Convert to target profile option. At Destination you now have the possibility to save the corresponding color profile (coated v3 or uncoated v3).

install photoshop color profiles

AttentionFor the creation of printable PDFs, further settings may be necessary. For more information, see the article "How to export print-ready PDFs".

Photoshop also offers the possibility to install color profiles globally; the way to do this is also via the menu Edit and the subitem Color Settings . The dialog box looks slightly different but offers essentially the same options as InDesign.

Text black vs. Deep black: the black representation in InDesign

Not directly related to the color profile, but also enormously important is the selection of the black representation. You can specify these at the same time as you select the color profile. We’ve written a detailed background article on the subject here, so here’s just the most important information in a nutshell.

Not all black is the same. For the printing result it is important whether an object is created in K100 or in C40 M40 Y70 K100 (example value), a so-called deep black. By mixing with cyan, magenta and yellow, the black either looks even richer or gets a slight color cast depending on the mixing ratio. For normal continuous text the creation in K100 is necessary!

So that you don’t go down the tubes with InDesign because K100 and deep black are rendered exactly the same, you have the following options under the menu item Edit> Presets the possibility to choose the best black representation for you.

Why you should use color profiles - and how to install them correctly

For the screen and print/export, select the option Show all blacks correctly.

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