If you ever attempted to design something on the computer and have it printed out then you most likely have experience the colors on screen and the colors on paper don’t quite match up. That’s where color calibrating your monitor comes in. I’m going to break down the steps I took for my setup and share it with you.
First, you need to know what color spectrum your monitor can display.
Ideally you’d want 100% adobeRGB. (It’s only recently that monitors that can do this have become affordable for the average joe.)
If you don’t have that, the next ideal color spectrum to have is 100% sRGB.
Do some research online to figure out if your monitor has 100% adobeRGB or sRGB. If your monitor is not so great, you can still get benefits from doing calibration but you might have some unwanted results when printing.
There is quite of few choices of color measurement instruments to choose from. The instrument I use to measure and the one I’ll be focusing on in this post is a Spyder 5. (If you want to buy the same one as me, get the cheapest Spyder 5. The hardware is the same in all versions, the only differences is software.)
I have done this process on Windows and macOS. It’s slightly easier to do on macOS but I personally use Windows 10.
Before starting do not install the software that came with your device. If you have uninstall it before continuing.
You need to disable driver signature enforcement temporarily so you are able to manually install the driver for your Spyder 5.
Download latest version of DisplayCAL and install it.
Plug in your Spyder5 into the computer.
Download the latest version of ArgyII CMS or let DisplayCAL download it for you.
After it’s installed in your Device Manager you should see ArgyII in your devices.
We have to import colorimeter correction profile for Spyder 5 to work correctly in DisplayCAL. Download the latest Spyder 5 software. Do not install this software.
On the front page of DisplayCAL, there’s a section called Instrument. There’s a drop down menu called mode, you should set it to LCD (White LED). Most modern monitors use this method for backlight.
Everything else I leave on default settings.
Finally select “Calibrate & profile“.
Next you’ll see a new window called Measurement Area. You can resize the window to your liking but keep in mind you need to place your color measurement instrument, Spyder 5, in the middle of this box.
Select “Start measurement”
A new window will pop-up called “Interactive Display Adjustment”
Select Start measurement. This will only take a minute or so and you’ll see RGB and brightness rows fill with values from your Spyder 5. Select Stop measurement.
At this point you want to select Continue on to calibration. Go get a few coffees this is going to take 30-45 minutes.
Everything after these steps is self explanatory. However I have couple of resources to help you on your journey if you require it. A video on the process which is pretty good if you can get over some of the fluff in it, ceos3c’s displayCAL video. Lastly as a last resort DisplayCAL’s support forums. Happy designing, I hope you are now closer to the results you desire.
Edit: Here’s another tool to help test your monitor. It’s a bunch images to test various variables. Go check it out, The Lagom LCD monitor test pages.