Re-mapping the 4-color gamut in 3-D

The TRUMATCH concept is an advance in applied printing technology — a 3-dimensional re-mapping of the 4-color process gamut according to the scientific logic and organization of hue, saturation (tint) and brightness (shades created by adding black).

TRUMATCH is based upon the original theories describing color as 3-dimensional space, which were separately presented by Munsell and Ostwald in 1929 and 1931, respectively, and refined in 1931 by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE).


When desktop publishing became the standard, graphic designers needed a solution to end the headaches of matching solid colors in 4-color process. More than half of solid colors are beyond the 4-color range. TRUMATCH solved this problem. Simply put, when working in 4-color, select in 4-color.

Color monitors also complicated the job of selecting colors. Nowhere is this more apparent and frustrating than when working with assigned colors — the ones applied to the text, backgrounds, borders and illustrations used in all corporate communications, from advertising to promotional materials.

It looks easy to get the bright colors shown on the computer screen onto a digital color printer or a commercial 4-color printing press. But it isn't. Computer screens display color by adding varying amounts of red, green and blue light (RGB, which is "additive color"). This is critically different from how 4-color printing filters white light reflected off paper through dots of transparent "process" inks of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK, which is "subtractive color").

The conversion from RGB (additive color) on-screen to CMYK (subtractive color) on-press is complex and not exact because they are different color gamuts.

Also consider that different digital color printer manufacturers use different print engines and different 4-color ink pigments, and that these inks are also different than the standard inks used on a commercial 4-color press.

This is why it is essential to assign colors from actual CMYK printed samples rather than from RGB color representations on-screen. By referencing printed samples, the color you see, is the color you get.

TRUMATCH® is the simple solution

For those whose work depends on 4-color accuracy, TRUMATCH is an easy, inexpensive and unique way for computer users to eliminate 4-color matching problems. The solution is simple:   When you work in 4-color, select in 4-color with TRUMATCH.

The innovative TRUMATCH System, introduced in 1990, is the standard for 4-color matching and is patented in countries around the world. Its smooth transitions of color let you easily find tints and shades within color families, without shifting color cast. This digital System displays accurate, balanced proportions of process color that are logically organized and conveniently arranged according to the familiar R-O-Y-G-B-I-V spectrum. There are 50 hues, with 40 perfectly proportioned tints and shades of each hue, plus a section of 4-color greys, resulting in over 2,000 color choices.

To create smooth tints of each hue, TRUMATCH uses the ability of digital imaging output to target tint screen percentages to 1% accuracy, thereby maintaining smooth proportions of cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY). Unlike other color matching systems, black is handled separately and is added in even 6% increments to create the shades.

TRUMATCH® Products

The TRUMATCH Colorfinder, a printed reference fanguide, is available in both coated and uncoated paper editions. The percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) are noted on every color swatch. Using a TRUMATCH Colorfinder for selection, designers enter accurate TRUMATCH process colors with a mouse-click, using the TRUMATCH 4-Color Palette already in their application software.

The TRUMATCH 4-Color Palette is integrated into the Process Colors (CMYK) mode of leading graphic design and illustration software: Adobe (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator), Corel (CorelDRAW), and Quark (QuarkXPress).

The TRUMATCH Colorfinder is the most accurate method for selecting and matching colors when working in process color. The TRUMATCH Colorfinder is printed to exacting standards of ink film thickness, dot gain and color balance.

Award Winner

TRUMATCH won the prestigious GATF InterTech Technology Award for Innvovative Excellence. This Graphic Arts Technical Foundation award is reserved for innovative, breakthrough technology that is expected to greatly advance the graphic arts industry. TRUMATCH is also endorsed by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Regards for great 4-color printing!

Steve Abramson

The TRUMATCH 3-D Model of 4-Color Space ®