COLOR22 — A Color Management Conference for Everyone
With COLOR22 set to begin next week, running January 22-25 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, there is still time to make plans to attend. If you haven’t already made plans to be at this event, here is a closer look at just a few of the reasons to consider it.
- Whether you are a complete novice to color management, or a seasoned veteran, there will be something for everyone at the COLOR22 conference.
“For anyone involved in any way with color reproduction, editing, or design, this is a ‘must-do,’” says Hutchcolor’s Don Hutcheson, one of the speakers at the conference. “At least every few years, there is something everyone will benefit from. You get up-to-date on the latest information, the latest changes in color management, and if you’re a complete novice, you can come to my session and I’ll fill your head with everything you need to know and were unaware you needed to know.”
“This is a multi-track conference just loaded with great content for color management folks at all levels of expertise,” notes Jim Raffel of Colorcasters, another scheduled speaker. “In addition, having the opportunity to visit all the vendor/sponsor tables during the breaks and see what's new and exciting in color management has great value. Finally, the ability to network and interact with other attendees, speakers and sponsors always proves to be invaluable for me.”
"It’s the one place you can go to meet the people who drive the industry, and get ahead of what’s next and the new solutions and trends in print," agrees Ron Ellis, Ron Ellis Consulting, also a speaker at COLOR22. "It gives insight into where we are headed, and the people are friendly, knowledgeable, and great to talk with. If you love print and color there is no better place to be!"
- There is a broad range of information to choose from, allowing attendees to tailor the experience to their own business needs. Each day of the conference there are several concurrent tracks, each one taking a different focus, allowing everyone from brand owners, to press operators, to prepress technicians, to business managers to find sessions specific to their own color management situations. And with a range of keynotes that bring in voices from all stages of the color process, the event is designed to give attendees a rich and varied education that will allow every single person to go back to their work with actionable ideas.
“This conference has been around for more than 20 years,” says Raffel. “Many of the presenters and attendees have been involved in color management going that far back and further. There is no better place to find the breadth and depth of color management knowledge all in one place.”
"There are very few conference and places you can go focused on color and print," says Ellis. "There are almost no educational opportunities in the industry at this level. COLOR22 goes beyond the basics and gets deep into the technical issues you need to know to optimize your print and quality issues."
Hutcheson himself notes that he has presented his in-depth and intensive color management primer for the past six years, and he has been an attendee since 1999. “When it first started, the technology was so new,” he notes, “so we went just to find out what it was about. Now I still come for that, but it is also for those with more experience, who go to see if they are still doing it the right way, or if there are better ways of managing color.”
- It is a community of people excited to learn from and connect with one another. In fact, 60% of attendees are those who attended a COLOR event in the past, a testament to not only the quality of the content, but also to the bonds forged between the attendees.
“I’m most excited about seeing all the old friends and faces year after year,” says Hutcheson, “as well as see all the newcomers fresh to the industry. There are always great sessions, and getting to introduce novices to color management is always a lot of fun.” He continues, “we have some who come back to the same sessions every year, but each time they listen they get something new out of it.”
In addition, it is a unique chance to interact with people who interact with color and print from different perspectives, giving every attendee a chance to come together and better understand how color fits into the broader story, which in turn means that print providers can better serve customers, and better communicate color with them.
“In more recent years, the focus of the conference has been expanded to bring in a whole new audience of corporate color managers,” says Raffel. “These people focus more on the end result of the color management technology than the nuts and bolts. Bringing these folks in covers the entire color management workflow, and turns the conference into an overall look at the color ecosystem rather than just the color management technology layer.”
"For me the most valuable part of print is to be able to talk and spend time with the industry influencers," notes Ellis." In addition to experts, brands and others the key developers for many industry manufacturers are here – and they are listening to what you have to say."
- Color is an ongoing process — there is no such thing as “perfect” color, and the opportunity to constantly expand knowledge about color, how it works, and the latest technologies around it will only help printers over the long term.
“Perfect color is not a realistic goal,” stresses Hutcheson. “It is always a compromise, and the concept of absolute perfection is elusive, to say the least. So many people are getting high quality color already, and they don’t realize how good it is. They think it should be better, and I want to slap them and say ‘do you have any idea how good this is?’ Considering all the variables, getting good color can be daunting, but with the right technology, it is simpler. It is virtually impossible to get bad printing these days,” he notes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t always room for improvement, especially when it comes to keeping up with all of the changes to that technology and the shifting standards around color that printers are expected to stay ahead of.
COLOR22 is a conference designed for everyone, an event targeted to every single person who touches a print project during it’s lifecycle and has input into the final product. Color is both a process and an art, and true color management masters know that to continue putting out high quality prints with amazing color requires constantly learning new techniques, experiencing new technologies, incorporating new standards, and even sharing new ideas and solving problems with others who are just as passionate about color.