Color profile for Blurb books

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Updated March 2010



Roses are magenta, violets are cyan… this one (by photographer and author Elliot Ng) goes out to all you dedicated digital photographers out there who diligently color-corrected Aunt Gladys’ navy kneesocks in holiday photos with Photoshop (you know who you are). You can download the Blurb ICC Profile currently used for Blurb books so you can shoot and color-correct your photos using the same color profile.

This will help you make the colors in your photos a closer match with those output by Blurb’s commercial printers, so that the magenta roses you see on your computer screen look brilliant when you see them in your published Blurb book. If that’s not enough for you, here are more red-hot tips for color management.

We thought about making you a card out of paper doilies, but figured this would be a better way to win the hearts of you savvy Blurbarians. Got any tips of your own to offer? Come on, share the love with your fellow photogs…

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  1. I’m new to tweaking ICC/color profiles and so have a pretty basic question…. can I use the HP5000 Indigo profile in Elements? I have downloaded it and installed it in the directory advised but it doesn’t show up for me as an option in Elements. Is this one of those PS-only details? Thanks………

    By Kate
      August 21, 2007 – 12:13 pm   Permalink
  2. Hi Kate, I don’t think Elements supports ICC profiles but I would check the Adobe website for more information.



    By Bruce
      August 23, 2007 – 1:35 pm   Permalink
  3. What about the 13 x 11 books? Does this apply to them as well?

    By Mark
      September 2, 2007 – 8:54 pm   Permalink
  4. Hi there. I have not found an output profile publicly published by Xerox for the iGen3 as of yet. I’ll be at GraphExpo next week in Chicago and I’ll see what I can shake out. 13×11 books are done exclusively on the Indigo.


    By Bruce
      September 4, 2007 – 8:44 am   Permalink
  5. Bruce: Does this mean that the covers for the 13 x 11 are also done with the Indigo and I can use the profile in the post?

    By Mark
      September 5, 2007 – 8:32 am   Permalink
  6. I was able to download the ICC for HP500. But I have a Mac, where should I put this file to be able to softproof my photos in photoshop?

    By Lily
      October 19, 2007 – 9:51 am   Permalink
  7. Lily,

    Try: Macintosh HD > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Color > Profiles

    By Kathy
      October 19, 2007 – 10:15 am   Permalink
  8. Thanks, Kathy.
    About the soft proof, I am not sure I am doing it right. Here is what I did:
    I went to ‘proof setup’ in the ‘view’ menu in photoshop;
    chose ‘custom’
    chose device to simulate as HP 5000;
    the rendering intent is ‘relative coloremetric’ and ‘black point compensation’ is checked;
    two options in ‘display on screen’ are not checked;

    Then when viewing the photo under ‘proof colors’, nothing changes.

    If I check one of the options in ‘display on screen’, there is a lot aweful color change.

    What should I do, what is the right way to do it? First time using this function, very confusing.


    By Lily
      October 19, 2007 – 9:54 pm   Permalink
  9. Hi, the HP colour profile seems to be only for CMYK but Blurb works in sRGB. Does it mean I work in CMYK with the HP profile and then save in RGB before sending. Why not sending in CMYK. Thanks

    By Peter
      December 29, 2007 – 3:17 am   Permalink
  10. Hi, I have a similar situation with Peter, wherein I have all of my eps files in CMYK.

    So I want to save them to JPEG in order to be able to import them into the book.

    Do I assign or convert these files first to the HP profile
    then, adjust the colour (if need be)
    then, assign or convert them to sRGB?

    It was kind of touched on here, but it’d be great if anyone can clarify, the difference between assigning and converting.

    and what is the difference between the sRGB profile and sRGB IEC61966 -2.1?

    Thanks, btw purpose of book is to put all of my art work together

    By Armida
      January 5, 2008 – 6:47 pm   Permalink
  11. Armida,

    We don’t answer technical questions in the blog, because our Tech Support crew and the Forums do such a better job.

    Give one of those a try and I bet you’ll find your answer in no time.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      January 7, 2008 – 12:06 pm   Permalink
  12. Just got back a 13 x11 book with what seems to be a common complaint – magenta cast on the B&W’s. Agree with others that is just plain silly that Blurb seems to shrug this off.

    I’ve check the forums and people have various suggestions, but these are incomplete and often confusing.

    Here is a simple question.

    If I soft-proof using the profile for the HP 5000 will I get a better result? If so, please tell me exactly what pofile to use and where to get it. Even the model is confusing. Is it an Indigo 5000, an HP 5000, an Indigo HP 5000? What?

    By Bernard
      September 3, 2008 – 7:02 am   Permalink
  13. I have now found my way to Sam Edge’s site, and downloaded and installed the HP5000 profile as recommended.

    When I soft proof using it, however, the soft proof does not match the magenta cast I got on the B&W’s in the book. Instead the cast is blue.

    My monitor is fairly recently calibrated – month ago. Is that the best bet? I should note that color in the book matches the monitor fairly well when NOT soft-proofed. Soft-proofing seemsto just add a very mild haze to the color images.

    By Bernard
      September 3, 2008 – 11:02 am   Permalink
  14. I’m going to upload to your site for the first time and have some questions.
    If I’m sending you JPEG files do I need to upload them into Booksmart?
    Can I leave my images in CMYK colour? If they were built in the sRGB profile?


    By Rob
      September 20, 2008 – 12:11 pm   Permalink
  15. We need clear instructions for which color profiles we need to convert our images into when submitted. You say use sRGB. You say you print some things on the HP Indigo and others on another device which you do not name. How can we feel confident that the images we submit will look like we expect?

    We are happy to do the conversion into proper profiles based on where the images will appear, but we need clear information and instructions. Tell us to convert images to HP Indigo CMYK color space for interior pages. Tell us to convert images to “whatever” color space for dust jackets and soft cover books.

    Your BookSmart product is a very nice tool. I compared it to iPhoto on the Mac and your package is much more flexible and offers a lot more options for page designs, layouts, etc. Please provide clear guidance on color profiles and submission guidelines.

      September 27, 2008 – 4:48 am   Permalink
  16. I see a lot of talk about soft proofing with the HP Indigo ICC color profile. Then I see a lot of talk about entire books of images coming out too dark. When I soft proof with the specified color profile, my images appear very washed out. But I am afraid to adjust contrast or other qualities to make them darker due to the claims that images are printed dark. The guidance on these two issues appears to be contradictory. It seems that the guidance to soft proof may be the cause of the reportedly dark images. Clarification is badly needed.

    By Ben
      November 9, 2008 – 2:07 pm   Permalink
  17. I just signed up and downloaded the booksmart program and ended up here after search the knowledge base for color management. I had hope to get a book printed to give to family in early January. I’m now very histant to get into this too far as there’s no point in getting a photo book published if it I cannot be assured of it’s quality. We have invested heavily in tools and techniques to get our final image product to it’s best. I would agree that there may need to be a seperate division for a more demanding client such as myself. And I’m willing to pay a premium, to a point, for ensuring that the images match a color managed system. I also believe that there should be a system for those that simply want to know how to make sure that their black and white images are true black and white.

    From a pure, marketing oriented point of view, create a reasonably easy to understand step by step guide that will allow anyone using images in a book to get a reasonable expectation of what there book will look like.

    By Gil
      December 13, 2008 – 2:35 pm   Permalink
  18. What about people who are just learning to make an album and not into all the photoshop and graphic type procedures? My album is for my son who is getting married in June 09 and the book I have produced so far looks fantastic on my computer. How can I be sure this will look magnificent when it is printed? Is there some sort of guarantee that the look that I get on the screen will transfer to the paper and the book will be something to be treasured and of which to be proud? I too am hesitant regarding this issue (re Gil December 13, 2008).

    By Laurel
      February 24, 2009 – 4:58 pm   Permalink
  19. Howdy all
    I downloaded this software on the suggestion of a friend and have thoroughly searched the site for information before embarking on making a book. And after reading all this hoohar about colour profiles i’ve removed the software and am looking at an Australian provider.

    By Joslin Hartley
      March 2, 2009 – 5:25 am   Permalink
  20. I have painstakingly re-created a wedding album after the 1st one got dumped. Wasn’t automatically saved as promised. The new one was manually saved. Now the work is done and it looks great. BUT…yesterday I looked at a BLURB album printed for another photographer, (friend of mine who happens to be one of the best in Atlanta), and it looks AWFUL. Compared to one I had printed by GRAPHI, Italy, the results are disastrous. Images are muddy, green and inconsistent. B&W’s have a magenta cast. Compared to what is displayed on our tried and true calibrated monitors, they hardly come close.
    Now I am hesitant to send any $$. All the questions here about the HP 5000 profile and how to effectively use it to color match prints seem to go unanswered.

    By Stan
      March 4, 2009 – 11:42 am   Permalink
  21. Hi Stan,

    For really active conversations around color profiling, please check out our Forums. The community is super supportive and always ready to help. For some reason, people feel more inclined to answer questions in the Forums rather than our blog format.

    Hope this helps.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      March 4, 2009 – 6:53 pm   Permalink
  22. It seems obvious that Blurb’s main press, which doubtless cost a fortune, isn’t able to accomodate profile printing. If it was, I’m sure they’d have told the community by now.
    But for them to read all these anguished posts and just tell people to search elsewhere in the company is ridiculous. Blub’s said this several times in this thread and on their main pages. I’m going to search elsewhere.

    By Jeff
      March 28, 2009 – 5:12 pm   Permalink
  23. I just happened to stumble upon this sight recently. I downloaded the BookSmart software and I put together an album. By the way, I am a professional Photographer as well as Graphic Designer. I thought the program was the best thing that I could possibly find but now reading through these posts, I am a bit skeptical about ordering because I don’t want to end up muddy dark photos that I’ve read about.

    By Patrick
      April 9, 2009 – 8:37 am   Permalink
  24. I think the same as Patrick in the previous post. It seems an offer of a Mercedes Benz but (maybe) with a Dacia engine.

    By Ova
      April 11, 2009 – 1:41 pm   Permalink
  25. Kathy, I’m considering having 3 monagraphs of 35 years of my work printed in the 13 x 11″ size by blurb, but I’m a little startled by your attitude. it seems that a lot of people are having problems with muddy blacks, hazy whites and color shifts and instead of just giving them a clear concise answer you insist on telling them to get the information from other customers in the forums. you seem to be a lovely person, but treating your customers like kindergarten children makes me a little hesitant to send you my work or my money. Is there a reason that blurb is unable to publish an easy to follow tutorial that gives your potential customers a base from which to procede, instead of winging it and hoping for the best?

      May 1, 2009 – 2:53 pm   Permalink
  26. Hi Kevin,

    A lot of our customers print B&W books and reorder them without any problems. Unfortunately they do not post to the blog. ; )

    That said, we are working on a few things around color profiles and certainly hope to offer better information and documentation about this process in the months to come. We are very aware that we could have more tutorials available, which is why I like to point people to the Forums as a stop gap. In the meantime though, I recommend you try doing a small proof book first to see if our service meets your needs.

    Hope that helps.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      May 6, 2009 – 10:24 am   Permalink