News Highlights...

-- According to the report, 17% of design and production firms plan to invest in color management software in the next 12 months-the highest this category of investment has been in over 5 years;

-- More than one-fourth (27%) of creative firms state that jobs for which color accuracy was "critical" have been increasing;

NEW YORK -- June 17, 2004 -- Imagine going to a department store to buy a white shirt and getting home to find out it's actually light blue. This is the problem graphic designers have faced for years. The color they saw on their monitors did not match the color on the printed page, or more important still, the product. Thus the need for color management was born. Though development began in the late 80's, acceptance and use of color management offerings has been slow and cumbersome for the creative community.

According to a new study just released by TrendWatch Graphic Arts, demand for color management offering is now at five-year high. Reportedly, 17% of design and production firms plan to invest in color management software in the next 12 months. This is the highest rate of demand since the Winter of 1998. Significant is the fact that this demand can somewhat be attributed to Commercial Photographers, of which 38% have stated plans to invest in color managements solutions. In addition, 27% of all creative firms recently stated that demand for "color critical" jobs has been increasing, driving new demand for color management tools. The report, titled "Color Management: After All These Years...Still A Gray Area" is available for online purchase at the TWGA eStore in PDF format. For more information, please go to the TWGA website (

Researcher's Quote...

Vince Naselli, Director, TrendWatch Graphic Arts, noted, "Though these numbers are encouraging, it's also somewhat misleading. The demand and implementation of color management goes far beyond the specific software and hardware solutions sold. Color management has become increasingly integrated into so many offerings today that many users hardly appreciate its impact in their day-to-day lives. Today, many scanners, image editing, page layout and proofing solutions offer integrated and thus more user-friendly-and invisible-color management tools that are seamless to standard workflows. Accordingly, color management is indeed playing a major and increasing role in today's production facilities, though many solution providers may still not be realizing the bottom-line profits once hoped for."

According to the Report...

-- DEMAND UP FOR PRINTERS: 12% of all print and prepress firms planned to invest in color management capabilities-the highest response for this question in the history of our surveys;

-- COLOR MANAGEMENT ON THE WEB: 7% of Internet design and development firms planned to invest in Website color management capabilities, the highest that category has ever tracked;

-- INTERNET PROOFING GROWING: 43% of graphic design firms say their use of online proofing has increased in the past 12 months;

-- COLOR PROOFING CHALLENGE: "color proofing" was a business challenge for 41% of design and production firms-the highest this challenge has ever charted;

-- SHRINKING FILM PROOFS: 25% of printing and prepress firms use single-sheet proofs made from printing films for final sign-off proofs with clients (down from 46% in Spring 2002).

About the Report...

In this report, TWGA tackles several critical issues associated with color management and how it impacts today's workflows, including:

-- Why is color management such an issue anyway?;

-- What are the solutions? How do we fix the problems caused by those solutions?;

-- Does anyone care about color management in the first place? If not, why not?;

-- Is there a dichotomy between "critical color" and "good enough color"? Why, and what does it mean for color management solutions? Does this affect proofing in any way? And how is the growing "media mix" affecting that dichotomy?;

-- How is the proofing process changing-and what to those changes say about the demand/need for color management?;

-- The factors driving the need for color management;

-- The forces impeding the need for color management;

-- What is the changing face of Proofing and Color Management.


The TWGA Special Report on color management is based on survey results from TrendWatch Graphic Arts' twice-yearly surveys of the printing and creative markets, including the latest surveys: "Printing 19" (Spring 2004), "Design & Production 17" (Summer 2004), "Publishing 15" (Summer 2003), and "Internet Design & Development 7" (Summer 2003). Additional data is also drawn from the TWGA Historical Databases for all four of these surveys. Qualitative data was gleaned from the 2003 TWGA "Media Requirements Study," a multiclient research project that included extensive interviews with a broad swath of players in all corners of the graphic communications industry.


The TrendWatch Graphic Arts "Color Management: After All These Years…Still A Gray Area" report is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at or by phone at 866-873-6310. The price for the 166-page report is $1295. TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore customers can download this report in PDF Acrobat format immediately after purchase.