true colours

What you see is what you get

As we leave behind the grey days of winter and head into the light, bright days of spring, at Pagefast we’re celebrating all things COLOUR!

From the uplifting yellows of the first daffodils to the fresh green of new leaves, nobody does colour like Mother Nature. But at Pagefast our colour-managed workflow ensures that we come as close as you can get. We use ISO12647, the international industry standard, to ensure that you know exactly how your artwork will print.

It’s a given that you want us to get your colour right. We thought you might like to know a bit about how it’s done.

Alphabet soup

First, some abbreviation-busting. Your digital camera, scanner and computer (and your TV!) use RGB – red, green and blue, or the additive primary colours – to create images. The diagram shows how these are added together to produce white.

When it comes to putting ink on paper, however – and this applies as much for your desktop printer as it does for an industrial press – a different system, CMYK, is used.


If you’ve ever replaced the ink cartridges in your home printer you may already be familiar with CMYK, or process colour. Cyan, magenta, yellow and key, or black, are known as the subtractive primary colours. The second diagram shows how cyan, magenta and yellow interact to create the millions of colours needed for photographic reproduction; combined in equal proportions they produce a black of sorts – it’s actually more of a muddy brown – so key is added to the line-up to enhance depth and produce sharper text.

The conversion of an RGB image to CMYK can result in a printed version that is significantly different from what you have been looking at on your monitor. The colour composition can be adjusted, of course, but having highlighted this area of uncertainty we’d like to reassure you that you can know, before your job is sent to print, exactly how it will reproduce. All you have to do is request a colour-correct proof; because we use the ISO12647 standard colour profile, we can give you a printed proof that will exactly match the pages that come off the press.

Top tips for colour reproduction...

Convert your images to CMYK

You can do this in Photoshop by going to the Image > Mode menu and selecting CMYK colour. We will do this for you if you send us RGB artwork, but the resulting colours may not be exactly to your taste. If you make the conversion yourself, you will also be able to make your own adjustments.

Convert black and white images to greyscale

This removes all colour information and ensures that your image is only printed using black. In Photoshop, in the same way that you convert from RGB to CMYK, go to the Image > Mode menu and select greyscale.

Ask for a colour-correct proof

When colour reproduction is vital for the success of your project, ask us for a printed proof, scanned and calibrated to ensure that every colour, with the exception of Pantone/special colours, is faithfully reproduced. We can supply ISO-approved proofs at a small additional charge.

To read more about ISO, the International Standards Organization, and FOGRA, a system of certifications for print providers click here to go to the technical Help pages on our website.