True Colors

Author: Michelle Russell       


Illustration by Carmen Segovia

The Color Conference 2016,  Dec. 3–6, 2016,  Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort Phoenix

The Color Conference has brought together a spectrum of color management professionals — brand, production, and operations managers involved with printing and packaging, as well as academics, students, and designers — for the past 17 years. Indeed, color management cuts across all fields, playing a “huge role in branding and packaging,” said Jenn Strang, senior marketing manager for Printing Industries of America (PIA), which hosts The Color Conference. “From the calibration on the original designer’s monitor to the finished product — be it a packaging label, a point-ofsale display, or a website — color needs to be effectively managed throughout.”


For this past year’s conference, PIA offered a linear how-to track. “Attendees who were new to color management or who needed a refresher could start at the beginning,” Strang said, “and build their skills over the course of the conference.” At the same time, the program addressed the industry’s future with a track that explored the latest color trends and their role in emerging 3D and interactive print technologies.


In addition, PIA is focusing on the printing industry’s shift to inkjet technology. “Traditional offset printing is based on a four-color CMYK platform (cyan, magenta, yellow, black),” Strang said, “but newer inkjet machines have the ability to add three additional colors into the printing process — CMYK plus orange, green, and violet. The result is more vibrant color and better matching to specific brand colors.”


There won’t be a Color Conference 2017, but that’s something of a technicality. Instead of being held in December, the event will take place a month later, Jan. 13–16, 2018, in a new destination: San Diego — a “big step” for the group, according to Strang. Another new initiative for next year is incorporating user groups into the format, “allowing for a better long-term networking experience for attendees.” Session content is being shaped by attendee feedback from 2016 and the input of PIA’s “very active advisory committee,” which, Strang said, “really helps to set the tone.”

Spoken like a true color professional.