ICC Profiles in Print Design

Matching your photo printouts to what your monitor displays is incredibly important for any design work. Using ICC profiles in print design helps decrease costs related to reprints, speeds up your delivery, and helps you understand the link between digital and print.

Let’s take a look at how ICC profiles are used in print design and why it’s important.

ICC Profiles and Print Design

Why you should be using ICC profiles for print design

Every printer is different, meaning even the same model may print out a slightly different coloration than its sibling printer. Some handle blues better than yellows, and others handle reds better than greens.

Besides these differences, the full color gamut translates from digital to print. Generally, that’s RGB to CMYK. To those who don’t know yet, RGB is Red Blue Green, while CMYK is Cyan Magenta Yellow Black. As you can see, there is a big discrepancy in each’s respective color values and thus can easily get lost in translation.

ICC profiles help designers eliminate that discrepancy and it’s the number one reason why you should use ICC profiles for print design work. Assigning the ICC profile of your printer in use to your project ensures near perfect color translation and accuracy.

How ICC profiles work and how to use them for print work

When you apply an ICC profile to your print project, you are ensuring consistent color accuracy no matter what device it’s being viewed on. That may be a bit confusing for those wondering how that ties into print, so let’s clarify it.

A designer creates a gorgeous business card design that’s full of color and personality. That designer will need to send that design over to the owners of the company or that company’s marketing team or the head of the art department—you get the idea. That means that single design is being viewed on different phones and laptops and monitors. That designer, and the company, needs the color accuracy of that design to be consistent.

Thus, through assigning it an ICC profile, the design is consistent across all devices and on paper.

ICC profiles bridge the gap between the digital design world and print design and should always be understood and used.