The spot color system has several discrepancies within it, as it lacks the support system and strong fundamental color management system that the process color system has. It has been proven that the display and print reproduction of process colors is predictable; however, for spot colors, the predictability is questionable. The intent of the thesis research is to assess the accuracy of the premedia software tools for a softproofing setup of the spot colors and their overprints. The research experiment is examined on the most available scenarios of softproofing for spot colors, under a streamlined and controlled methodology that provides manageable and comprehensive information to test, to analyze, to interpret, to and to understand the outcomes. The methodology applied the known scenario of ICC-based color management for softproofing of process colors, to the softproofing spot color solids and overprints. It was implemented in the thesis experiment, which is based on paired comparison procedure. The results obtained from this experiment depicted that the visual agreement of process colors as displayed and as printed is accurate, while it is inaccurate for the spot colors. The paired comparison procedure has shown several triads (more than one choice as an answer) in the spot color section. In most of the cases for spot colors, the most chosen (highest ranked) display sample is not the expected one. For example, in the display samples of spot color overprints, the display sample with the actual L*a*b* measurement of the hardcopy reference is chosen over the Overprint Fill display sample. This means that the display prediction provided by the premedia software applications is wrong, and the same kind of inaccuracy applies to the remaining display samples of the spot color overprints. In conclusion, in a workflow environment that is most common to the printers and graphic designers in the printing industry, the currently available premedia software tools and applications do not provide accuracy for the softproofing of spot color overprints. The graphic software applications do not provide an accurate representation of what they claim to be an Overprint Preview of spot colors. Several print-related parameters (such as transparency of ink, ink tacking, ink trapping, print-sequence of an overprint, etc.) are not considered to be the fundamentals for the overprint predictions (overprint preview). In technical words, a softproofing or display-to-print scenario for the spot color system is lacking the A to B, while the B to A is readily available. The predictability of the outcome of spot color interactions, from design to display and to print, has neither been as easy nor as successful as it has been for the process colors. Information about referencing any of the spot color interactions is required to provide the missing color management.

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Riordan, Michael

Advisor/Committee Member

Sigg, Franz

Advisor/Committee Member

Cummings, Twyla


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in December 2013.


RIT – Main Campus