Doc's MFP Color Test Card

Doc cares about the quality of his color prints and figures if you're going to go to the trouble and expense of full color then it ought to look good. So nothing bothers me more than when a printer gets out of whack and the color deteriorates. Trouble is, that process usually happens gradually and often people barely notice how over (or under) saturated and blotchy the colors have become. That's why I always carry a trusty color-quality test card in my briefcase (along with all the secret plans and compromising photos, of course).

Doc cares about the quality of his color prints and figures if you're going to go to the trouble and expense of full color then it ought to look good. So nothing bothers me more than when a printer gets out of whack and the color deteriorates. Trouble is, that process usually happens gradually and often people barely notice how over (or under) saturated and blotchy the colors have become. That's why I always carry a trusty color-quality test card in my briefcase (along with all the secret plans and compromising photos, of course).

My test device is a grey-scale photography card combined with some color spectrum charts used for calibrating printers, monitors, and scanners. When I think the prints are looking a little shaky from any given printer, I drag out my test card and make a quick copy. When you have something to compare the output to, you can evaluate it properly.

It drives the IT people nuts when I complain about the color printers, but a good part of my job has to do with image and I want it to be accurate (and consistent). It usually only takes a few minutes to get the machine back to performing well.

I know the people who service the MFPs have proprietary test patterns, but I like having my own so I can use the same one on each machine. That way I can compare output from one device to another.

Sometimes, if I have a particularly big job to print, I'll use the test card first to see what shape the machine is in, and then if there's a problem I can always call for service or choose another machine. I hate color surprises.

You may think I'm obsessive about color quality, and I could be. But I know the value and especially the cost of color printing, and I just want it to be right. Is that really asking so much?

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