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Fifty shades of white: colour management for Van Marcke

Van Marcke is a leading Belgian wholesaler and distributor of bathrooms, kitchens and heating. The company’s catalogue, 'Thuis in warmte en water', was printed by die Keure. It was an interesting project, because it illustrated exactly just how big an impact colour management can have in the printing process. Our colleague Pascal worked on the project and tells his story below.

Pascal Vandenabbeele works in die Keure’s scanning department. As its name suggests, this department used to deal with scanning images, slides and so on. Today, however, its work goes far beyond merely scanning pictures. The scanning department is the beating heart of our printing plant when it comes to colour. Our scanning colleagues are now responsible for colour management: monitoring colour throughout the entire printing process.

Pascal controleert de kleuren voor het drukwerk van Van Marcke

Pascal, what exactly did you do for Van Marcke?  
Pascal:  Die Keure has printed Van Marcke’s catalogue for several years in a row. In last year’s catalogue, we noticed that some photographs looked a little dull on the paper we chose. We also noticed that a large number of product images had a colour cast.

A colour cast? 
Pascal:  A colour cast is a certain colour tint that affects the whole of an image. For example, we noticed that the colour of some toilets — which were all the same shade of white ceramic in reality — differed significantly in the catalogue. Some were a little too yellow, some a little too grey. Others even had a purple hue.

How do you explain those differences? 
Pascal:  In this particular case, it was mainly down to photography. The product photos in this type of catalogue aren’t all taken at the same time: they’re taken from a collection that’s grown over the years. This means that certain aspects, such as lighting, can differ between pictures, and that’s where the variation in tint comes from in this project.

What did you do to resolve this issue? 
Pascal:  We suggested removing these variations and freshening up the images through photo editing. For each image, we adjusted the colour saturation and contrast. We also used special processing to make the images less sensitive to environmental light. As you can see from the photographs, the results are quite remarkable. Due to the edits we made, the colours stay the same throughout the catalogue.


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