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A Practical Example of Why Colour Management is Very Important

16th August 2011 General Articles


I recently purchased a cover for my iPad 2 – on the website it looks like a nice modern light warm grey colour.

When I received it, however, it proved to be quite a different colour – a dead ringer for pantyhose. Much browner and a kind of uncomfortable, zombie flesh tone. My ultra modern, sleek iPad looks like I’ve shoved it an old pair of Oma’s drawers.

I am officially a dissatisfied customer.

To be fair, web browsers and colour management is hard. I don’t really blame the store. Although I DO use a best in class NEC PA271W monitor, colour managed web browser, and if the image was really accurate and properly tagged, my screen would display it as accurately as anything can.

Who knows where the problem occurred – I’d guess a white balance problem (they should have used something like the ColorChecker Passport in capture) – but it could be the ICC profile got dropped off in downstream processing, or any number of places – it’s hard to tell really.

Colour management, even in 2011 – or perhaps even more so – remains a complex chain, only as strong as the weakest link. If you’re not constantly vigilant with your colour, you’re going to disappoint someone somewhere!

(Note March 2012 – they have updated their image to make it look warmer brown now!)