Printing: Beauty in Design, Monster in Life?
Since Heidelberg printers widely used the offset printing technology, two basic understandings of the source of colour were formed: one type of colours come from natural light, and the other is reflected by the surface of the object to human eyes. The RGB mode, as people would often talk about is based on the principle of how natural colours are formed while the CMYK colour model used in offset printing is based on the principle of reflected colour. At this point, inexperienced board game designers and manufacturers will generally fight in a conceptual dead loop as designers get perplexed just why the printed colours always differ in some way from the ones they design. But manufacturers also go grieved as it is not their fault and unavoidable. Ultimately, chromatic aberration has become a perennial debate between designers and manufacturers.
As a matter of fact, no colour difference would have aroused in design and production stages if all designers design with CMYK inks on papers just like the craftsmen in Heidelberg did. However, the problem is that today's designers mostly draw with computer software. Computers present colours mainly by the RGB colour mode consisted of three basic colours of red, green and blue. They superimposed on each other before directly enter the eyes, and can form bountiful different shades of colours by adjusting brightness and contrast on computer software, thus making the pictures real in sense and high in saturation.
Designers lacking printing knowledge get baffled as RGB and CMYK work on different principles. Here is the catch: CMYK is unable to reproduce the bright purple presented by computer screen which is based on RMB colour mode as we mentioned. Even, colour difference is normal as the colour black in different cards of the same game will not be the same due to different batches of ink, uneven pressure from the machines during printing and various other technical difficulties.
To deal with this issue, printing factories come up with another printing method other than CMYK. When it comes to a specific colour from customers, they first concoct the ink based on Pantone colour mode and use them to print. Ink made in this way does come near to the colours designers design. However, it takes much trouble to synthesize a particular ink colour. Workers need to wash off the original ink in the machines first, and the whole process can be expensive.