They laughed when I placed the puck on my monitor…

Jul 27, 2010

Anyone who works with color on their computer monitor needs to have one that’s accurately calibrated and profiled. One that will show you the actual colors in a file as they’re meant to be displayed. Now, a little bird told me there are a lot of monitors out there in front of graphic designers that haven’t been profiled in a long time—if ever. Every one of them is probably different, no two are the same and not one is correct.


Generally speaking, you really need to calibrate and profile on a regular basis with a hardware profiling device. I’m using the little Eye-One Display 2 model, a colorimeter by X-Rite (formerly Gretag Macbeth). I’ve had very good results with mine, and it’s the one I recommend. It’s USB and resembles a computer mouse. You can probably pick one up for under $200.

The Eye-One Display 2 comes with free “Eye-One Match” software with an interface that ushers you along from step to step, with helpful tips shown along the way. There aren’t too many decisions you have to make. Using Eye-One Match is a very simple procedure, and you’ll get a chance to go gossip at the water cooler a few minutes while it reads a series of color patches to create the monitor profile.

Having a properly profiled monitor is always the first step in color management, before anything else, you’ve really got to do it. Without it, you’ll be flying blind and will have no chance of outputting anything that looks like what you saw, even on the most accurate proof printer.

I had big plans of making an instructional video or something to show the steps involved with profiling your monitor, but then I ran across this really excellent video by Jim Memije at ColorHQ (I called him; he’s really a nice guy). Doing a much better job than I was going to do, he demonstrates the process using the Eye-One Match software with an Eye-One spectrophotometer (big brother of the Eye-One Display 2). Jim covers all the bases and goes into just the right detail of showing you the steps and different decisions you’ll make along the way. The video is in parts 1 & 2 so be sure to watch both.

Get yourself a hardware display profiling device and after watching the video you’ll breeze through the process of calibrating and profiling your monitor.