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Appendix A. Color Management

Appendix A. Color Management

For years, “What You See Is What You Get,” or WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzywig”), was one of the key buzzwords of desktop publishing. It meant that the page layout you saw on your computer screen was, more or less, what you'd get out of your printer. WYSIWYG works fine for a page with any color of ink—so long as it's black (to paraphrase Henry Ford). But it's significant that nobody felt the need to come up with a similarly cute acronym to describe color fidelity between computer and printer. My editors and I considered “Color You See Is Color You Get,” but we wouldn't want to be responsible for unleashing “kissykig” on the world. My colleague, Steve Roth, says he prefers WYGIWYG: “What You Get Is What You Get.”

Silliness aside, the main reason nobody's come up with such an acronym is that until recently, it would have described a condition that didn't exist. If you've ever created color pages, you've learned—probably with no little pain—that the colors you see on your screen have little more than a passing resemblance to what comes out of your color printer or off a printing press. In fact, a major part of working with color on desktop computers has been learning through trial and error that when you see color A on your screen, you'll actually get color B out of your color-proofing printer, and color C off of a four-color press run. Your only guides were process-color swatch books, test prints, and experience.


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