In the past decade, large-format inkjet printers have become increasingly popular for printing photographs, fine art reproductions, point-of-purchase displays, signs and banners, and other applications. Due to the wide variety of inks, media, printers, and software raster image processors (RIPs) available, inkjet printing depends upon ICC color profiling to get an accurate match from digital file to print.
The longevity and durability of inkjet prints can be extended by lamination, which involves the application of a heat- or pressure-sensitive clear plastic overlay. However, due to the adhesives, laminates can impart a color cast that is especially apparent with black-and-white photographs viewed under different lighting conditions where metamerism influences color perception. According to Brian Gibson, national technical and applications manager at Neschen Americas in Toronto, Canada, cast-free laminates are available but are more expensive than ordinary laminates. Thus the large format industry could benefit from a method of controlling color casts from less-expensive laminates.
Laminates' color casts were readily apparent in preparations for a 2007 photo exhibition, "The Celebrity Persona" (Figure 1), coordinated by Valerie Boileau-Matteau, exhibitions coordinator at the Mira Godard Study Centre, Ryerson University School of Image Arts. After lamination, the prints had a reddish cast. However, it's also possible that the color cast could have been reduced by "profiling through the laminate," meaning to laminate the ICC test chart before reading it.