Why does the colour look different on my screen?

Sometimes, you look at something on your computer and think “ooh, that looks great”, but then you see it on someone else’s computer, or your phone, or you print it out, and it’s not what you were expecting. All you want is for the colour to look exactly the same on everything, right? That can’t be too hard!

Actually, it is. That’s because the appearance of colour is dictated at the user end or output stage. Computer screens are made differently and callibrated differently. So are desktop printers. The colour on screen is also light-based whereas the colour you print out is ink based, so you will always get different results.

There are some things we can control – for example, we work from a Pantone colour matching system so we can specify colour values to ensure consistency across different applications, and make sure our professional printers can match colour on different jobs, but unfortunately we can’t control the fact that Bob who sits next to you is working on an old computer and everything on his screen looks purple.