Custom printer profiling - fix your colour management issues with a profile from Pure Profiles

Generic printer profiles versus custom printer profiling

So, hopefully we've convinced you that if you want the best out of your printer, then a printer profile is the way to go. However you've probably noticed that for some of the more popular papers and printers, you can get pre-made printer profiles from the manufacturers websites. Some printer drivers even install printer profiles for their own brand of paper. If you can get a printer profile that ties your printer model and the paper that you use, then why not use them instead of paying for a printer profile? They will certainly be an improvement on the standard printer driver settings, but there are compromises which will affect the accuracy.

You might expect that the printer that you buy would print exactly like another printer of the same make and model - if you print a colour with an exact mix of inks, you would expect it to look exactly the same for every printer of the same type. However, that doesn't always happen. Printers are built to certain printing tolerance standards - you will expect a mix of inks to print roughly the same colour, but it will not always be exactly the same. Take into account all the colours that your printer can print, and all those subtle changes can make quite a difference.

The pre-made profile can be created from one printer, or averaged out from a number of printers. If the profile is from one printer, then the gamut and the colour shifts are based for that one printer. You'll be quite lucky if your printer is an exact match for the one that created the profile (particularly so for the cheaper, more consumer orientated printers, where the tolerances can be wider than the printers aimed more for the professional market). The prints may look reasonably accurate, but it will rarely be an exact match.

If the profile is created using a number of printers, then you've got a better chance of a more accurate match (providing your printer is not at the extremes of the printing tolerances). But there will still be compromises. Colour shifts are averaged, and the gamut of colours that your printer can print will be restricted. This can make all the difference at the extremes of the gamut.

There's also another factor that will affect your printer's output - wear and tear on the print head - as your printer ages, the colour output will change (particularly if it is heavily used). This will mean the accuracy of any factory supplied profile will diminish over time, and that's a very good reason to have your printer profiled with your favourite paper from time to time.

So that leads us to custom made printer profiles - where there are no compromises. This is the ultimate step for getting the best out of your printer, and will result in the best looking prints that you can achieve.