Rotherham’s Bluetree has guaranteed colour consistency across its diverse portfolio of large-format digital printers by centralising colour management with GMG ColorServer and GMG SmartProfiler colour management software. The sign and display specialist has also realised savings on ink costs of around 25% with the GMG InkOptimizer package.

Bluetree runs six digital inkjet machines: a roll-fed Epson Stylus Pro 1180 and Scitex XP2700, a flat-bed Inca Spyder, a Develop Ineo 5501 and two flat-bed HP Scitex FB7500s, and turned to GMG to address colour consistency issues.

By managing colour though a centralised GMG workflow instead of fragmented device-specific RIPs, Bluetree has accelerated its pre-press operations – saving time and money – and can now match corporate colours quickly and accurately, guaranteeing customers same colour results on different output devices and media.

“The bigger the client, the more important correct colour becomes, and either directly or through agencies we have been producing for some very well-known national and international brands. So the main thing it’s given us is confidence,” says managing director Bryan Shirley.

“With an almost infinite range of variables from artwork, substrate, RIP and output device I can now look a client in the eye and tell him his job has gone through a GMG workflow, making it as close as anyone can possibly get.”

Bluetree had already experienced the reliability of GMG RIPs first-hand on one of their output devices and, through dialogue with a number of industry peers, established that GMG is the market leader in colour management.

The power and efficiency of the GMG workflow is evident in Bluetree’s prepress department. Bluetree receives artwork from clients created in a variety of ways in a variety of formats. GMG ColorServer reliably automates tasks such as transparency flattening and CMYK colour conversion so that, regardless of how the original is presented, the RIP receives a quality job resulting in far fewer hold ups.

To complement GMG ColorServer, Bluetree opted for profiling solution GMG SmartProfiler for guaranteed repeatability and maximum production reliability. After the initial set-up of profiles the company need only pick the right media, the right device and the right running speed for the job, before queuing it for output resulting in improved productivity and accuracy.

Bluetree has also taken advantage of GMG InkOptimizer, developed to provide smart ink coverage and ensure that no more – or less – ink is used than required. It allows printers to reduce the amount of chromatic ink used on a job, replacing it with black, yet retain all the image quality. The result is less ink application, lower ink consumption and a reduced burden on the environment.

Says Mr Shirley: “Before we heard about GMG InkOptimizer we didn’t think it was an issue, but ink is expensive and savings are worth attempting. The results have been amazing – we estimate it’s knocked around a quarter off our ink costs, with no discernible difference to the appearance of the print.”

Says Ian Scott, managing director, GMG: “The industry seems to be waking up to the importance of accurate and consistent colour management for wide-format signs and displays. Companies like Bluetree have integrated a colour management to help differentiate their business offering from competitors’, and selling the concept of colour-accurate output will help to retain sales margins. GMG has worked hard to make what was once a time-consuming, difficult to teach and often inconsistent ‘black art’, into an efficient, measurable and repeatable process – and Bluetree is now reaping the benefits.”

Bluetree has 40 staff and is on course for a £4m turnover in the coming year. The company caters for the full range of sign and display markets and has recently developed a specialism in 3D CAD-designed display units.