Color matching

What is Color Matching?

At SpeedPro East Bay, we believe color matching is of the utmost importance. However, it is one of the trickier things to accomplish. We understand everyone has an exact color they want in their head and we are here to get your ideas from screen to reality with color accuracy.

Before we get started, we have some key suggestions below to assist with obtaining better designs for color accuracy.

  • Make sure that glare and poor lighting conditions are not affecting your ability to see what’s on your monitor.
  • Get a good, high-quality LED display with strong reviews and turn all color profiles off before you start designing.
  • Realize that monitor calibration is only for your own design phase and won’t match exactly when you print. SpeedPro East Bay uses an I1 device to calibrate to a PMS color build and will work with you to get the colors you want to see in your printed design. You can use the PMS color book to compare CMYK against your own designs.
  • Design your project from the start using the CMYK color profile. Since we print in CMYK there may not be an as drastic color shift from screen to final print.
  • Document your colors using the Pantone color library. These color swatches are standards used by designers and printers worldwide.

Color Matching with SpeedPro East Bay

The thing about color is that people perceive color differently due to many different factors, age, environment, and so forth. This is why color matching is one of the hardest things to accomplish in this industry. Colors can also change from different devices, artists, monitors, and so forth. Brightness and contrast affect the colors as well and can make a huge difference.

Now when it is time to actually print the job, there are numerous entities that can affect the color such as; ink, printing, stock, saturation, coating, texture, and more. The wide variety of things that play a part in color can be downright scary for most people. However, when you come to SpeedPro East Bay there is no need to fret as we do everything we can to make sure you are happy with your final job.

There are two major factors that will help us in our color matching process: Color profiles and Pantones.

Color Profiles

There are two main color profiles everyone uses; RGB (red, green, blue), CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Basically, when you are creating a file in either of those profiles the color is a mix of those values to achieve the color you selected. However, even with all those options, every color we see may not be reproduced exactly as there will always be a variance.

The RGB profile is based on the optical colors of light and is the color definition that is utilized by digital devices like cameras and monitors that ultimately give us the images we see through those devices and websites.

CMYK, on the other hand, is the color profile for pigments–the colors reflected by materials in real life. These are the four colors used in “4-color printing” that many fans of graphic design will easily recognize from the colorful pages of comic books from the 1930s on. This is the main profile used for any printed materials.

Mixing RGB light creates white light while mixing CMYK pigments creates black. A designer is able to make colors look more vibrant on screen in RGB, which is why it is used for websites and on-screen displays. If you submit a print file in RGB we can convert it to CMYK however, there will be a color shift and it will typically look duller from screen to final print. This is why it’s best to design from the start using the CMYK color profile.


Pantone colors, sometimes called PMS, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) consists of about 200 plus uniquely identified colors. This is a standard accepted worldwide, which allows printers all over to match colors throughout all steps of a printing process. For example, Coca-Cola red is a Pantone color for that specific red.  (Learn even more about Pantones here.)

Due to the complexities of digital-to-physical color mapping, we are unable to guarantee that we can hit all spot colors. However, if you can provide Pantone reference numbers that will be helpful as we proceed with color matching. Then, we’ll create a hard proof for you to approve. This smaller version of your project will show you the actual colors of the final materials and inks.

Powerful Color-Creating Printer Technology

SpeedPro East Bay’s digital printers provide exceptional high quality. We can print up to 1440 dpi with inks that can last up to 4 years outdoors, even without lamination. Our waterproof, solvent-based, UV-resisting inks even resist fading.

Even though color matching can be challenging, the combination of high-quality production with our ability to offer some of the best color matching services has given SpeedPro the distinction of being a G7 Master Qualified large-format printer that ensures color accuracy. We utilize the best equipment available to get your project within 95-100% of desired color accuracy: color management software, densitometers, and spectrophotometers are just a few tools our engineers employ to get you one of the best results in the large format printing market.

Give us a call today or request a consultation to see how we can get your color on point.

SpeedPro East Bay

Studio Owner

Ed Owens

Studio Hours