Digital Proofing Company ICScolor Benefiting From Remote Working Trend

A more affordable alternative to hardcopy proofing



Christine Dunne


For Dan Caldwell, President of ICScolor, this year has been good for his business. His sales pipeline is 300% larger than it has ever been before—driven by the number of clients working from home that require digital proofing capability.


“They don’t have their color quality monitors at home. They don’t have their inkjets at home. And if their team is working in six locations, that means—instead of one inkjet proof everybody views at the light booth—they have to make six and send them to six different houses,” said Caldwell. “So, all of a sudden, people are starting to look for our solution.”


Screenshot from ICScolor’s Website


Caldwell has sold digital proofing solutions (including Remote Director software) for 20 years now. With clients—including big publishers like Time Inc. and the Daily Mail in the UK—looking for ways to save money during the proofing process, he thought digital proofing would take off more than it has.


“We expected it to replace all proofing in a very short period of time 20 years ago,” he explains. “But then we found out that getting suppliers through the graphics art market to sell this technology was kind of like getting the gas station to sell an electric car.”


But then COVID happened. Around late April/early May, people realized they might be working from home longer than just a few weeks. Even as the year progressed and some started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, behaviors had changed. People realized: Other parts of the print process are digital—why can’t the proofing process be, too?


“My pitch is, as soon as you hit the print button to make a hard copy proof, you’ve broken the digital workflow,” Caldwell said. “Everything is digital, from creative to press, except for that hardcopy proof.”


Traditionally, Caldwell sold digital proofing software that is paired with a quality monitor, computer, and controlled ambient lighting. In December, however, he introduced an additional solution for the work-from-home employee that combines those components.


“This is a complete turnkey system people can put in their home office and see accurate color,” he said of the ProofCheck solution.


New ProofCheck Comprehensive Solution for Color Accurate Digital Proofs


As Caldwell starts moving the product and speaking to a “tremendous” number of potential clients, he’s also shifting his strategies for selling. He’s increasingly selling directly to brands rather than publishers and proof creators/print companies—as noted in the recent testimonial from Harry’s located on ICScolor’s website.


“The dealers who shunned us in the past are now saying, ‘Well maybe we do want to sell this product,’” he remarked.


Removing paper and shipping (and often expedited shipping to multiple locations) from the proofing equation can save money and add convenience. According to Caldwell, Time Inc. saved millions of dollars by no longer having to send 10 of each proof to 10 different locations.


“That’s the extreme end of the savings,” he said. “But depending on the amount of proofing you do, your savings is directly related to the number of proofs you look at each week.”


The potential savings is significant for the “booming” packaging industry, especially as brands are increasingly using different packaging for different demographics (e.g., age groups, genders).


Later this year, ICScolor plans to launch another product (PressCheck) to digitize the press check portion of the print workflow, allowing clients to perform a quality analysis of a print job from a remote location. The pandemic, and associated shift to working from home, has really opened up opportunities for Caldwell’s business.


“I’ve been pushing string for 20 years, and COVID has finally pulled a little bit of a tug on that string,” he said.


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