An Eye for Adaptation
For about 15 years, a mixture of fluorescent lighting, natural light and diffused sunlight illuminated the Printing Services facility at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB).
It was an improvement over the basement that previously housed the department, but when Manager Laura Sicklesteel received a new set of Pantone Matching System books, she experienced an eye-opening discovery. In the back of the book, there were two swatches that, when viewed under optimum 5,000 K lighting, should have been identical; however, under substandard lighting, the colors were clearly different.
This discovery, combined with the addition of a new X-Rite IntelliTrax auto scanning system and spectrophotometer for the shop's four-color Heidelberg Printmaster PM-52 press last April, led to a complete overhaul of the in-plant's lighting.
Representatives from Heidelberg visited the in-plant in June and assisted with the G7 calibration process. They recommended 5,000 K lighting at least in the viewing booth at the end of the press. Last summer, the in-plant went a step further and had all of the lights in the production facility transitioned to LED 5,000 K, sparking improvements both in print quality and in the in-plant's energy efficiency.
To get started, only a few fixtures in the paper storage area were tested, and Sicklesteel says the staff was taken aback by how bright their workspace became. But it didn't take long to realize the benefits.
"After about a week we realized, 'wait a minute, we can now actually see what we're doing,' " Sicklesteel remarks. " 'We can see better, we can work better.' We didn't hesitate to go ahead with the rest of the plant. It was about $14,000 worth of fixtures to do the entire plant, but at the end of the day our eyes aren't as tired, our product looks better and our color management is far more consistent than it's ever been."
Related story: New Plant, New Gear in San Bernardino